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E-M:/ Here we go again - Waste Management wants $20 million tax-free!

Enviro-Mich message from Jeff Surfus <jeffsurfus@comcast.net>

To all who are concerned about corporate greed, out-of-state trash,
Michigan as a dumping ground, etc, etc:

(Caution: long rant below)

I received notice yesterday from the Michigan Strategic Fund (a subsidiary
of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation), a taxpayer-supported
arm of the administration, that they are considering another application
from Waste Management Inc. for a $20 million tax-free bond, presumably for
various improvements and expansions of Waste Management facilities in

This is after the Fund approved a $35 million bond for Waste Management
and a $17 million bond for Republic Services in 2001!

The MSF Board met at 9:30 this morning to consider this application, among
others.  It is unclear if it would be approved at this morning's meeting
or at the next meeting on August 20 in Livonia.

What does this mean?

If approved, it means that Waste Management will have received $55 million
in tax-free bonds from the Engler/Posthumus administration over the last 2
years alone.  The money has/will be used to improve and expand their
facilities throughout the state.  In other words, this administration is
providing tax-free loans to one of the world's largest and richest
corporations so that they can continue to deposit more and more garbage in
their landfills in Michigan, both from in-state and out-of-state sources.

This is all happening very quietly, under the radar screen, with very
little public scrutiny.

The bottom line:

The public is getting SCREWED in so many ways in these types of deals that
it is sickening:

1.  Money that was provided by our tax dollars that should be used for
legitimate business development and expansion in our state is being sucked
up by a multibillion dollar transnational corporation that doesn't need
the money but is finding a friendly hand-out from the Engler/Posthumus

2.  Michigan is drowning in out-of-state waste.  Our disposal rates are
the cheapest in the Midwest.  Obviously one of the reasons is that the was
te management companies don't have to charge market rates for disposal
when they have such a ready and willing provider of revenue.

3.  The Engler/Posthumus administration has been saying for years that
there is nothing that they can do about out-of-state trash until the
federal government passes legislation empowering states to do so.  That
argument appears to be getting more and more comical as they continue to
hand out the money to the waste management companies.  Engler/Posthumus
and their cronies couldn't care less about out-of-state trash and its
impacts on our environment and these types of deals prove it.

4.  While the good citizens of this state continue to recycle in many
different ways, the administration can and is, with the stroke of a pen,
shooting an arrow through the heart of our recycling efforts.  Obviously
people should continue to recycle in any way they can, but think about
what could be done with that type of money to help develop additional
recycling/reuse/diversion programs instead of promoting garbage disposal!

5.  I just happened to find out about it because I got on the MSF mailing
list after last year's $35 million bond.  Not that I got a lot of notice.
I received the notice yesterday for a meeting taking place today!  But it
makes me wonder what has been happening without our knowledge over the
last decade?  I can't even begin to imagine!  Where is the accountability?
Is there even anything we can do about these kinds of deals if we do know
about them in advance?

Rant complete.

Jeff Surfus

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