Letter: Time not right for gasification plant

Editor, The Spotlight:

It is recommended that the plans for a proposed solid waste gasification plant on the Hudson River be rejected because of the following reasons:

  1. Today direct combustion of municipal solid wastes in an incinerator is superior to waste gasification in terms of air pollution, water pollution, toxic bottom ash, and energy efficiency. However, research and development of waste gasification should be continued. To quote Mr. Hakan Rylander, an expert and historian on waste gasification: “I believe there is a long way to go, but we shouldn’t give up our efforts.”

  2. New York City has requested Proposals for a pilot plant study of the latest technologies that significantly reduce the volume of municipal solid wastes and produce electric energy. The pilot plant must be located in NY City or no farther than 80 miles away. Since the distance from the town of Bethlehem to NY City is 130 miles, the proposed plant in the town of Bethlehem is not related to a NY City Proposal. The Proposals are due June 5, 2012. It will probably take at least ten years to ascertain if the pilot plant study is a success. The Town should wait until New York City has completed a study before making plans for a similar waste plant on the Hudson River.

  3. In 1989 residents from the town of Bethlehem formed an organization to oppose the proposal to build a waste incinerator on Cabbage Island, now a part of Beacon Island. On June 18, 1992 a referendum vote was held in Bethlehem and the building of a waste incinerator in the Town was rejected. How can the Town support the construction of a waste gasification plant without good operating data to prove that gasification technology is better for the environment than direct combustion in an incinerator?

  4. An incinerator or a waste gasification plant does not belong in the Hudson River Valley at Beacon Island. There are already many sources of air pollution in the Valley including two large natural gas power plants. If in the future the Town passes a referendum to construct a waste to energy plant a site in Selkirk would be superior to the Beacon Island site. This could also help pay for the cost of water that the Town must buy from the city of Albany.

  5. If the NY City Proposal is a success and the State DEC and the Federal EPA are promoting waste to energy plants the Town should cooperate with Albany and all other local communities to site and build an incinerator or waste gasification plant. This will probably be at least ten years in the future.

  6. Officials of Recycling Solutions Technology LLC, the company that has a patent on the proposed gasification plant in the town of Bethlehem, should submit a Proposal to New York City before June 5, 2012 using a site that is within 80 miles of the City.

Bill Kelleher


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