Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Biology with a minor in Chemistry
Master's Degree in Biochemistry
PhD in Planning and Management

My background is biochemistry and it is from that perspective that I come before you tonight to share a sampling of the considerable amount of research I have done both into this proposal and into the general impact of waste combustion technologies.

I have chosen to become involved in the opposition to the Liberty Energy sludge incinerator issue because I know that incinerators are harmful to people and harmful to communities; the National Academy of Science knows that; the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives knows that; the City of Detroit knows that; Neighbors Against the Burner, a Minneapolis/St. Paul citizens group knows that; the National Institute of Medicine knows that; the National Research Council knows that; the Sierra Club knows that; Greenpeace knows that; our friends in the Imperial Valley know that; countless other scientific organizations know that – – – my question is why doesn’t the Banning City Council know that?

It must be clearly understood that combustion of waste materials does not eliminate any harmful chemicals from the environment; rather it permits these substances to either be retained in a more concentrated form in the ash residue of such combustion, or vaporized and released into the atmosphere.

Sewage sludge incinerators pose a multi-pronged threat to people and communities; here are some of those threats:

1. First, the threat of cancer-producing chemicals being released into either the atmosphere or the ground. Waste incineration has been documented by numerous research studies as the greatest known source of dioxin, the most toxic carcinogen ever studied. It combines with tissues in the human body and accumulates there to cause a wide variety of cancers. Research has shown that among individuals living near waste combustion plants, or workers working in the plants: 3.5-fold increased probability of mortality from lung cancer; 1.5-fold increased likelihood of mortality from cancer of the esophagus; 2.79-fold increase in mortality from gastric cancer; 44% increase in soft tissue sarcoma; a 27% increase in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; and a 2-fold increased probability of cancer mortality in children.

2. Waste incinerators also release heavy metal vapors into the air, such as mercury, nickel, lead, arsenic, cadmium, and aluminum. These substances have been research-proven to cause impairments of human mental function and nerve function which will influence human behavior and thinking ability; they also cause birth defects, impairment and dysfunction of the blood and cardiovascular systems, detoxification pathways (colon, liver, kidneys, skin), abnormalities in the endocrine (hormonal), energy production pathways, enzymes, gastrointestinal, immune, reproductive, and urinary system problems.

3. In the process of incineration, new chemicals are created inside the furnace, called PICs or products of incomplete combustion. The EPA and the incineration industry admit these chemicals are created but they don’t measure them at any point during an incinerator’s lifetime. If the EPA doesn’t study the problem, they can say with complete confidence, “We are not aware of any problems with this technology.” That’s how the government “regulates” hazardous waste incinerators today.

4. Let’s look at the sewer sludge that will be carried in the 924 trucks per week that will come to Banning. This sludge is a combination of human and animal solid waste materials; chemical wastes from homes, businesses, hospitals, meat packing plants, and mortuaries; human hormones and other chemicals secreted by the human body; pharmaceutical chemicals from many sources; some radioactive materials that are permitted to be released by industries; and the heavy metal poisons I noted earlier. With those ingredients would you guess the sewer sludge smells bad? You must also note that sewer plants are designed to remove bacteria from the sewage, but are not equipped to remove any of the chemicals I have just mentioned. All of these will be burned and as I said before we know from physical laws that matter does not “go away” – it merely changes state. Even if incineration worked perfectly, heavy metals and radioactive materials are not destroyed – they are vaporized and emitted by the smokestack or stay behind in the incinerator ash, making that ash itself toxic waste.

5. Please also note that with the normal east to west wind patterns in the Banning Pass, that all of these chemical pollutants will be delivered by the wind directly to the front door of every resident, school, child care center, senior retirement community, and hospital WEST of the plant. When the wind does blow from the west to the east, the pollutants will be delivered to the Morongo Indian Reservation and the greater Palm Springs, Palm Desert areas.

6. Recycling saves more energy than incineration yields. Think about that for a moment, recycling takes materials that have already been produced, such as aluminum in aluminum cans, or plastics and simply reforms them into new products. In incineration, the materials are burned up and you have to start over! It is only through reuse, recycling and composting that we can partially reduce energy and pollution costs. Incineration is counter-productive to recycling. Recycling saves more energy than incineration yields.

7. Is a waste facility good for the local economy? Here’s an example for you . . . Before Waste Management, Inc., came to Emelle, AL, the county’s unemployment was 5.8%, the city population was growing, businesses were attracted to the community, property values were increasing, things were good; after the plant had been operating for a few years, unemployment had climbed to 21.1%, people were leaving the community, businesses were closing, property values were plummeting, and things were bad! The city government explained it by saying, “Our water became polluted here, there are bad odors, traffic has increased, and it’s just not the kind of place where you want to raise your family.”

8. How about some quality of life issues?

□ Increase traffic,

□ The flies and other insects that will be attracted to the sewer sludge,

□ The odors that you must learn to tolerate,

□ A decline in your property values,

□ The decline in the reputation of our city?

This is an incredibly bad idea and I am amazed that the City Council would even consider moving forward with this dangerous plan.

If there are those City Council people who vote in favor of this proposal, they will immediately identify themselves as having no concern for the physical health of the citizens of Banning, or the economic health of this community.

Lyndon Taylor can be contacted at :

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