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Solid Waste Task Force—A Wasted Effort
The ‘Solid Waste Task Force’ met from 2007 to 2009
to develop parameters for new solid waste regulations
following legislative passage of Public Chapter 0462.
This legislation was an omnibus solid waste bill covering waste recovery
following disasters, work place recycling, and new solid waste
regulations. Public Chapter 0462 allowed the Board to assume
powers to create regulations previously reserved for General Assembly
if a wide range of factors such as jobs created, public education, and
the costs and benefits of recycling were considered. .
The Task Force was created to do this research. The ‘Task Force’ populated with local public works leaders from across the state and several concerned citizens. Two members of BURNT participated. The Task Force considered a wide range of evidence and developed recommendations to reduce landfills, increase recycling and composting, and implement basic solid waste management. This followed the dictates of Public Chapter 0462. TDEC, and the Board, twisted these recommendations to then create a Rule 0400-11-01-.09 which overrode the recommendations of the Task Force while claiming to follow them. Please see attached “waste reduction rule” to see that the rule continues the existing gaping loop-holes such as credit toward 25% recycling goal for landfilled construction waste. Plus, the Rule added that changes in production process could be claimed by business toward the 25% goal with no proof of efficacy.
Please understand the high quality of state and local officials on the Task Force. Local solid waste directors showed up with books on ‘Zero Waste’. State managers are outstanding. Unfortunately, we all seem caught up in a mindless system of “Landfill, Landfill, Landfill” even though everyone including the landfill companies would benefit if we composted and recycled which increases the value of the solid waste.
TDEC then exposed the weakness of the regulatory process by forcing the Rule 0400-11-01-.09 through the Solid Waste Control Disposal Board. and the General Assembly Joint government Operations Committee for final Rule approval. by claiming in writing in the “Summary of Comments” ‘[a]s directed by the Solid Waste Control Disposal Board, the Department is developing rules based on the findings of the Waste Reduction Task force in smaller pieces to allow for better discussion and focus on specific topics.” (comment # !, #5, #7, #19) Yet, it is patently untrue to say the Rule 0400-11-01-09 is based on the Task Force Findings. Any knowledgeable person can compare the two (attached) to understand they are polar opposites.
BURNT has a clear and persistent method of working. We are research based. We put our observations in writing. We keep working. Thus, BURNT has referred to this misuse of the ‘Task Force Findings” dozens of times in letters and flyers to the legislature.
We know that the people working for TDEC could resolve this landfill pollution and create jobs and business not landfills. Our mission is to keep working within the system without being negative toward people who are just as trapped as we are.