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RE: E-M:/ Trash-O-Meter, Social Cost.

Enviro-Mich message from "Eric Piehl" <ericpiehl@comcast.net>

Mr. Csapo,

I understand your dislike of an emotional attack on what is also a public service.

My attitude is that fees should reflect the *social cost* of the activity.  

In this case of accepting trash from other states and courtiers:
    .	If acre-feet of human sludge occasionally spill onto city streets, then fees on accepting human sludge (and not general tax
revenues) should pay for cleanup.
    .	If trash imports should meet the same standards for lack of recyclables, medical waste, etc. as Michigan trash, then tipping
fees (and not general tax revenues) of imported trash should pay for this inspection.
    .	If landfills occasionally contaminate nearby water wells, then tipping fees (and not general tax revenues) should pay for
running city water to affected water users and remediation of the aquifer.
    .	If landfills require long-term monitoring of water quality, then tipping fees (and not general tax revenues) should pay for
this monitoring.
    .	If landfills destroy roads faster than the gasoline taxes pay for roads (probably not, but the principle applies), then
tipping fees (and not general tax revenues) should cover the excess wear on roads.

For other projects:
    .	If coal-fired powerplants put mercury into the air, then fees (and not general tax revenues) should pay for the heathcare
costs generated by that mercury emissions.  An operator could reduce these fees by 75% or more by installing Selective Catalytic
Reduction (SCR) devices from ABB or other vendors on the powerplant, thus making mercury-control equipment easy to afford.
    .	If the government keeps two additional aircraft carrier battle groups on station to protect our oil supplies (not saying
that we are now, but some years ago, we were), then oil users (and not general tax revenues) should pay the additional costs for
stationing those aircraft carrier battle groups overseas.

There are lots of precedents for this.  Two that come to mind are:
    .	The EPA Superfund cleanup fund was started in 1980 by a tax on chemical and petroleum businesses.
    .	The Yucca Mountain National Nuclear Waste Repository is funded by a tax on the civilian nuclear industry and the government
(which has its own waste from nuclear weapons production).

In fact, I would say that *not* charging the social cost for an activity produces, in effect, a *subsidy* of that activity.  All we
are asking for is a level playing field.  In the examples above, paying realistic tipping fees makes it easier to fund recycling
programs, and paying for mercury emissions makes it easier to pay for reducing those emissions.  

If you throw out the emotional appeals in the Trash-O-Meter www.trash-O-meter.com , you are still left with the idea that tipping
fees in Michigan are way too low to cover trash imports' social cost.  I say:
    .	Let us have the state charge the social cost of trash imports, and provide the services to make us whole again.
    .	Let us show good stewardship over the land, water and air that we have borrowed from our grandchildren.

--Eric Piehl, Brighton, Michigan.
From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net  On Behalf Of RRRASOC@aol.com
Sent: Monday, May 23, 2005 6:41 PM
To: Dfarough@house.mi.gov; enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject: Re: E-M:/ Trash-O-Meter

And then there are those of us who think the trash-o-meter is an embarrassing piece of demagoguery, trying to pass off attempts at
interfering with private trade as legitimate environmental protection efforts.

Michael J. Csapo
General Manager
Resource Recovery and Recycling Authority of Southwest Oakland County

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