Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Surprise

There is an interesting item being brought back on next weeks City Council agenda. It's a letter of intent with Siemens to “design and implement a land fill gas project.”

I'm a bit concerned this is an attempt to resurrect a project that was tabled indefinitely in 2007. In 2006, Siemens brought a proposal to build a waste to energy gasification plant at our landfill. There are similar projects all over the world. Some seem to be successful, some have been dangerous failures. By 2007, a number of questions were raised about the safety, true operational costs, etc. and the item was “ tabled indefinitely.” Now, the last meeting of the year on a date that was changed when everyone is busy with Christmas and travel plans and the end of the year, etc. this is put on the agenda with almost no real public discussion for several years.

It could be this is not the gasification project proposed in 2006. It might just be a way to capture the natural methane the landfill produces and then do something useful with it. That could be a good thing, but shouldn't a project such as that be put out for competitive bid? When was the RFQ put on the street? How many bids were received? Did we go to Siemens about this or did they come to us. Would be nice to know if good background information is in the agenda packet, but that didn't make it to the city website yet so who knows.

This issue needs public input and discussion. Sneaking it in the last agenda of the year is not the way to do it.

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