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No Plasma Gasification op-ed in The Oregonian

Oregon PSR Board Member Joseph Miller's op-ed, April 15th edition

April 19, 2010
Author: Joseph Miller

No Plasma Gasification (The Oregonian, April 15, 2010)

 

As Carrie Sturrock reports in "Metro will filter garbage that trucks emit" (April 9), the Metro Region Clean Refuse Fleet Project to install particulate filters on many diesel garbage trucks is commendable.

 

Not commendable, however, is the proposal by Waste Management Inc. to build a plasma gasification plant at its Columbia Ridge Landfill in Arlington.

 

As the report "Plasma Arc Technology for Municipal Solid Waste: A Proven Technology or Incinerator in Disguise?" documents, despite numerous proposals, "There has never been a commercial facility in the U.S. using plasma arc technology for municipal solid waste. ... There have been two commercial plasma arc facilities processing other wastes, and both have had serious problems."

 

For more on these problems and why plasma gasification is not a "green solution," see the reports "Burning Issues in Waste Disposal" and "An Industry Blowing Smoke." (Please see links to these reports below.)

 

JOSEPH MILLER, PhD, Southwest Portland

 

Miller is on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

 

For the reports cited above and additional resources see:

Plasma Arc Technology for Municipal Solid Waste: A Proven Technology or Incinerator in Disguise? - Will Florida’s Health and Environment Be Protected? [Compelling critique of proposals by Green Power Systems to build a plasma arc facility to process municipal waste in Tallahassee, and Geoplasma to build a plasma arc facility in St. Lucie County] - Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice & Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives 3/10/08 

 

Burning Issues in Waste Disposal: Incinerators In Disguise [Power point presentation, 48 slides] - Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice & Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives 10/08 

  

An Industry Blowing Smoke: 10 Reasons Why Gasification, Pyrolysis and Plasma Incineration are Not "Green Solutions"- Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) 6/09 

 

 Incinerators Trash Community Health [includes a revealing critique of plasma gasification] - Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives 6/08

 

Incineration of Municipal Solid Waste: An Update on Pollution [also addresses gasification, plasma arc and other "incineration in disguise" strategies] - Pembina Institute in collaboration with the David Suzuki Foundation, Sierra Legal, Toronto Environmental Alliance, Canadian Environmental Law Association and Great Lakes United 5/07 

 

Tellus Institute Report: Assessment of Materials Management Options for the Massachusetts Solid Waste Master Plan Review [Concludes "gasification ...  [is] unlikely to play a major role in municipal solid waste management in Massachusetts."  Also notes that "emission factors used to compare environmental performance are based largely on modeling and/or vendor claims ... as opposed to actual operational data from real world experience."] - Tellus Institute 12/08

 

Let's Say "No" To Incineration in Canada - Prevent Cancer Now 1/09

 

Proposals for new [gasification, plasma arc, etc.] facilities in the U.S. have failed when authorities investigated- UK Without Incineration Network 11/25/08

 

The Plasco Fiasco in Port Moody [Plasco "plasma-arc" garbage plant fiascos first in Ottawa, then in Port Moody between 2006 and 2008] - Zero Waste Vancouver

 

Wasted Energy: Debunking the Waste-to-Energy Scheme - Neil Seldman - Institute for Local Self-Reliance July/Aug 08 

 

Waste Management to Add Landfill Plasma Gasification Unit [Proposal by S4 Energy Solutions, a joint venture by Waste Management and InEnTec at Waste Management’s Columbia Ridge Landfill in Arlington, OR] - Environmental Leader 3/8/10

 

InEnTec Medical Services LLC Cancels Permits to Build Controversial Plasma Arc Medical Waste Incinerator Near Red Bluff, California: Residents & Greenaction Win Huge Victory Against Incinerator In Disguise - Citizens for a Healthy Community & Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice 6/16/08

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