City of Cleveland welcomes proposals for new methods of managing municipal waste
by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press, May 2012) Cleveland City Council voted 15-2 at its April 9th meeting to pass an ordinance extending the deadline for Request for Information and Qualifications for various methods to manage municipal solid waste disposal to July 31, 2012.
In explaining the intent of the new legislation, Mayor Frank Jackson Administration’s Chief of Staff Ken Silliman said the Mayor’s office is driving the new legislation and will take a larger role in working with the new consultant and Cleveland Public Power to evaluate the proposals. Silliman said the legislation no longer refers directly to gasification. He said the administration would look at any and all options for various methods for reducing municipal waste. However, he emphasized that the Jackson administration is still looking for proposals on how to reduce the amount of municipal waste that goes into landfills, even after all recycling and composting and other methods have reduced the amount of municipal waste. This would include proposals for using waste to generate electricity, said Silliman.
Silliman noted that the City of Cleveland would consider any and all proposals to reduce waste, including any from neighborhood organizations that come up with proposals increase recycling and composting in exchange for a portion of the tipping fees that would have gone to landfills.
The legislation also sets aside $200,000 for a consultant to help evaluate the proposals and qualifications of those individuals or organizations submitting them.
Voting against the legislation were Councilman Brian Cummins and Councilman Mike Polensek. Environmental Groups and community activists working against the idea of a Cleveland Incinerator also opposed the legislation, indicating that the City of Cleveland hasn’t revoked its request for an air pollution permit and is still considering incinerating waste to generate electricity. Ohio Citizen Action and other local environmental groups say they are preparing for a daylong symposium on waste reduction, recycling and composting in Cleveland on Saturday June 2nd.
An April 12th letter signed by local environmental and community activists said, “Since the City is now seeking proposals for ALL waste management ideas, it’s time to explore all the avenues that could make Cleveland a leader in recycling, composting, and resource recovery and to reject incineration.”