Friday, January 26, 2007

Cooler Heads Prevail on Yard Waste

HB 1, first up in Wayne Smith’s “Nine in Nine” strategy to get the session off to a fast start, didn’t come up for a vote this week. HB 1, which was introduced in response to complaints about the ban on yard waste going to Cherry Island Landfill, would overturn the ban and require that the DSWA accept yard waste until such time as the General Assembly decides otherwise.
Diana McWilliams, Helene Keeley and Gerald Brady deserve the credit for slowing things down enough to allow cooler heads to prevail. Instead of forcing the DSWA to accept yard waste for Cherry Island’s remaining useful life, they are seeking to sit down with the key players to find practical means for handling the single largest category of recyclable material in the waste stream.
This is exactly what Reps. McWilliams, Keeley and Brady proposed in HA 2 to HB 1, which would postpone the ban for five months while directing DNREC and the DSWA to find alternatives for handling yard waste.
You can read the original bill and the proposed amendment here. The synopsis of HA 2 reads:
This amendment maintains the ban on yard waste in the DNREC permit to DSWA that allows the expansion of Cherry Island but prohibits any enforcement of that specific permit condition until June 1, 2007. The amendment also requires DNREC and the authority to work on long-term solutions for yard waste disposal and recycling during the delay. The amendment also leaves the decision for exclusion of yard waste from any landfill in Delaware with DNREC instead of the General Assembly.
This is how the system is supposed to work. Instead of ramming through a bill that would mandate the landfilling of recyclable material, the House can choose to take some time, do some homework and find solutions that minimize the cost and inconvenience to residents and maximize the environmental benefits of diverting leaves and grass clippings from Cherry Island.


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