VDT editorial yesterday: after the
In a recent Valdosta council meeting, longtime councilman Sonny Vickers asked if there was any way to put the biomass issue to rest once and for all. The good news, Councilman Vickers, is that there is and it’s all in the city’s hands.Compelled? Give me a break! VLCIA has an attorney, and one of its board members is an attorney. If they can’t find a way to break a land purchase contract because conditions have changed, they need new legal counsel.
The Industrial Authority signed an agreement with Wiregrass Power LLC which allows the company to purchase the land from the Authority and proceed with the project on its own. Although the Authority hasn’t yet voted on the issue, it appears that they don’t have a choice and may be compelled to honor the agreement.
Why didn’t they discuss that in their yet another special called meeting Thursday morning, in which they apparently discussed that offer from Sterling Planet to buy the proposed biomass plant site?
And once the land is purchased, as long as the company complies with existing zoning laws, there is not a way to prevent the plant from being built.
Oh, but there is.
Councilman Vickers, all you and your fellow councilmen have to do is to vote down the request for water from Wiregrass Power LLC. Simple. Especially in drought times, even treated wastewater is a precious commodity for agricultural uses, and the community needs it all, rather than see it evaporated in order to burn wood.Oh, like Karen Noll asked the Valdosta City Council to do back in March, petition in hand?
In addition, with all of the wildfires and the amount of woodlands that have burned in recent months, the supply of timber is currently at the lowest it’s been in many years, forcing prices to rise far beyond the level the company had intended to spend purchasing it.Valdosta has no control over that, though. And how do we know what price the company expected to pay for wood, since VLCIA has refused to release that information?
There’s something Valdosta could do, however: demand release of that wood sourcing report, along with an update on price changes since then.
To go one further, the city needs to pass an ordinance or impose a policy that no solid waste in the form of human feces will be permitted to be burned in this or any incinerator in the community. It is untested technology. No other plant in the world is currently burning feces, and Lowndes County shouldn’t be the testing ground.Good try, but the plant location is actually in the county and not in the city, which is why the county had to rezone it. But the county could do something like the VDT is suggesting; more in a later post.
According to Wiregrass officials, they were simply burning the city’s waste at the city’s request, in order to save Valdosta around $250,000 a year in landfill fees. So rescind the request.Good idea. Of course, that alone won’t stop Sterling Planet, because the solid wastes are a small proportion of the fuel they plan to use.
To those who oppose the Wiregrass Power plant, and to Vickers and the other councilmen who are genuinely concerned about protecting your constituents, the future of the plant is entirely up to the City of Valdosta.Thursday I saw Council Vickers on a public street telling Rev. Rose that the City Council ought to be the last place to go for a decision. As I told him at the time, that’s what’s wrong with the Valdosta City Council.
May you use your power wisely.
Be that as it may be, the Valdosta City Council is now one of the last places to go for a decision on this, since VLCIA has once again passed the buck. Council Vickers could be the swing vote that turns the tide against this losing boondoggle plant. Will he stand up for the people of the community?