It's Landfill Fight Time Again in East Bexar County
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
Date Unknown

One of the more interesting films I have seen in my life is the Discovery Channel film of zebras crossing alligator infested rivers in Africa.  What is interesting is that it is every zebra for itself.  Alligators attack members of the herd and other zebras not under attack do nothing.  The victim zebras are left to fend for themselves while other members of the herd scurry across the river to save their own hide. 

Such is the case with the tough but necessary fight against BFI's request to the Texas Natural Resource and Conservation Commission (TNRCC) for its permission to expand its landfill.  Not an unfamiliar experience for me, I have fought every one of these landfills and expansions thereof, with all I could muster.  And so I believe I must put my shoulder to the wheel of opposition to the current request for an expansion permit.

Of course, I cannot honestly lend my support to an effort without promoting individual responsibility for waste generation/reduction.  So, you should know that I firmly believe in personal recycling, as do many of you.  I am delighted with the Donahue Recycling Dumpsters at local schools and churches.  My cardboard goes there.  The other recyclables such as plastics, glass bottles and cans to the City of San Antonio curbside recycling program.

The BFI application to the TNRCC requests that the life of the landfill be extended to 57 years and to expand its land area from 265 acres to 929 acres.  BFI wants to go over 50 feet higher than the current permit to just over 800 feet!  To add insult to injury, the BFI application for an expansion of its East Bexar County landfill includes a request that it be allowed to landfill the solid waste from 37 different counties from outside Bexar County!

With all of the opposition that generates each time we fight a landfill, one would think each and every one of us would be recycling, but we do not.  One would think that the landfillers, the pertinent governmental entities or even some member of the community would be able to craft a plan to end the need to decide where we will place a landfill every ten to fifteen years.  We must not end up in a landfill crisis due to no or poor planning. And, we must not use our limited urban county land area for more landfills.

Allow me to survey some of the discoveries I have made in the direction of advancing local recycling with a little help from others outside our community.  With the help of the Internet, I have discovered a great resource in the Environmental Protection Agency Website, EPA, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission Website and locally, we have the Alamo Area Council of Governments Solid Waste Advisory Committee and the Corporate Recycling Council, just for starters.  USAA has virtually written the book on how to effect a great corporate recycling program!

According to the TNRCC, Texas recycles 26-35% of its recyclables.  The country's average varies from 40%.

This community has previously debated the implementation of a materials recovery facility or MRF.

I have requested Senator Madla to request the new Texas A & M at Palo Alto to offer a course of study in resource recovery and market applications for recycled products so that we may learn about solutions to our "trash crisis". 

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