Tag Archives: private

How to implement trash, health, and safety?

Disposal of solid waste (trash/garbage) is a matter of community public health and safety and providing such service is the responsibilty of the local governing bodies. How should trash health and safety responsibly be implemented?

We cannot be left in a situation where residents are either “forced to buy” service from a provider, or have no option but to burn their trash. The government can levy a tax, but they cannot say that residents are forbidden to buy a service from an independent provider.

Such a ruling is

  • unfriendly to those who currently own, or want to start a waste collection business in our county,
  • unfriendly to the residents who are counting on the government to follow the state-legislated goals to
    “protect the health safety, and well-being of its citizens and to protect and enhance the quality of its environment” ,
  • unfriendly to the environment as trash ends up on the side of the road or polluting the air by being burned and leaves us to face a new problem on a different day.

Residents in the unincorporated areas of the county who want curb side collection, for the most part, already purchase it. Those of us using the collection centers do so because it is our preference.

The county should (in my opinion) create a special tax district for waste disposal (it already makes special lighting districts) and tax the residents for the maintenance of the collection centers.


Who implements trash, health, and safety?

As we’ve seen, solid waste is a matter of public health, safety, well-being, and the environment, according to Georgia state law. Whose responsibility is it to protect the environment and the public health, safety, and well-being from solid waste?

Many health and safety issues are handled through the health department, Diagram of the waste hierarchy including the Georgia Department of Public Health, and the South Health District (Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Tift and Turner Counties). Particularly, water quality (septic tanks, well water), food safety, cleanliness of hotels, motels, restaurants, swimming pools and so on are the responsibility of the local health department, such as the Lowndes County Health Department.

However, disposal of solid waste (trash/garbage) is handled by the local municipality or governmental body (county).

The EPA has a variety of documents available about solid waste.

So does the state EPD, as enabled through Georgia Legislation: Existing Rules and Corresponding Laws.

So, where does this leave us? See next post.


Trash, health, and safety

Solid waste is a health and safety issue, according to Georgia law.

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources copy of the GEORGIA COMPREHENSIVE SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT ACT OF 1990 AS AMENDED THROUGH 2004,

O.C.G.A. § 12-8-21. Declaration of policy; legislative intent

a) It is declared to be the policy of the State of Georgia, in furtherance of its responsibility to protect the public health, safety, and well-being of its citizens and to protect and enhance the quality of its environment, to institute and maintain a comprehensive state-wide program for solid waste management and to prevent and abate litter, so as to assure that solid waste does not adversely affect the health, safety, and well-being of the public and that solid waste facilities, whether publicly or privately owned, do not degrade the quality of the environment by reason of their location, design, method of operation, or other means and which, to the extent feasible and practical, makes maximum utilization of the resources contained in solid waste.

Emphasis added on the parts about health, safety, well-being, and the environment. Those are the goals of this legislation, stated twice in the first paragraph. Georgia being a home rule state, the implementation of these goals is now left to the local governing bodies. More on that next.


Farm bill would reauthorize USDA REAP grants

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) wrote for The Hill 5 March 2012, REFRESH Act: Strengthen rural communities and U.S. energy security
Reauthorize and reform the popular REAP program to demonstrate opportunities for economically viable energy investments and encourage loans rather than grants.
Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) has long been working with local farmers and USDA to help with agriculture and rural jobs.

The Indiana Congress members continued:

Real commitment to rural growth requires that we put money where our mouth — or authorization — is. We offer basic mandatory funding that is more than paid for through cutting waste.

Renewable energy production creates jobs. Rural communities see potential for real economic growth in the emerging biofuel sector. Advances in technologies and agricultural techniques could offer economic benefits from coast to coast. Using the REFRESH Act as the basis for the next Farm Bill would help galvanize private investment in the sector, bringing jobs to a ready economy.

Indeed it can.

Obviously I like REAP grants, since we got one for Okra Paradise Farms. That 25% REAP grant plus an 35% ARRA NREL plus 35% GEFA credits will add up to 90% covered by grants and tax credits, which is a pretty good deal.

Now that remaining 10% is still a significant amount; like the price of a small car. But in 7-15 years (how long it will take to pay off this system, depending on how you figure it), what would the value of a car be? Much less than when you bought it. Meanwhile, these solar panels will be generating almost as much power as they are now, and they will continue to generate for at least a decade more, probably much more.

The big missing piece is up-front financing. Local banks will do it, but only for collateral. By which they mean real estate. Nope, they won’t take the solar equipment as collateral, even though it would still be operational many years from now.

Local banks or credit unions could see this as an opportunity and start accepting solar equipment as collateral. Beyond that, with a few changes to Georgia law, to deal with the power utility territoriality clause, and maybe to ban boondoggle charges for more dangerous and less job-producing power sources, we could get a commodity market in solar power in this state. You could put up solar panels like this, or more, on your house or business roof, and sell your excess power to somebody in Atlanta with less roof space. That would produce widely distributed energy, reducing need for foreign oil or dirty coal, lowering your electric bills, maybe even producing you a profit, and generating local jobs right here in south Georgia.

Private investment is ready to come in for utility-scale solar projects.

And companies like SolarCity that already do everything from financing to installation could do that in Georgia. Or home-grown companies could do that. Or local banks could finance while local companies installed.

Anyway, we have here on our workshop roof a proof of concept, operational right now, purchased partly via a USDA REAP grant.


Audio of WVGA 105.9 Drive Away CCA Interview

5PM today, Drive Away CCA, from the prison site at East US 84 and Inner Perimeter Road, honk at Valdosta City Hall, and march at the Industrial Authority office.

Chris Beckham’s show has put audio on the web of his interview with me this morning.
Update: Here’s LAKE video of the interview.

John Quarterman, who is with a group informally called “Drive Away CCA” visited The Morning Drive to discuss the group’s displeasure with a possible private prison that is being discussed in Lowndes County. A possible extension for the company to continue its plans here is up for renewal and the group feels its location here would be bad for area businesses and citizens alike.
Follow the link for the audio. Video up shortly.


Drive Away CCA Today!

Today at 5PM, help Drive Away CCA! Join the motorcade from the private prison site to honk at Valdosta City Hall and march at the Industrial Authority office.

I’ll be on Chris Beckham’s show on WVGA 105.9 FM this morning at 7:30 AM to talk about it.
Update: audio of the interview.
Update 2: Here’s video of the interview.

Here’s the case against a private prison: Continue reading

Faith groups urge state governors not to sell prisons to CCA

From Quakers to Catholics,
“Our organizations advocate for a criminal justice system that brings healing for victims of crime, restoration for those who commit crimes, and to maintain public safety.”
religious groups oppose privatization of prisons. Here is the text of a letter many of them sent to all 50 state governors, joining the ACLU in opposing CCA’s recent offer to 48 states to buy their prisons.

You can help drive away CCA, 5PM this Tuesday, March 6th. Or sign the petition to the Industrial Authority to reject the private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia.


March 1, 2012

Dear Governor:

We the undersigned faith organizations represent different traditions from across the religious and political spectrum. Our organizations advocate for a criminal justice system that brings healing for victims of crime, restoration for those who commit crimes, and to maintain public safety.

We write in reference to a letter you recently received from Harley Lappin, Chief Corrections Officer at Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), announcing the Corrections Investment Initiative – the corporation’s plan to spend up to $250 million buying prisons from state, local, and federal government entities, and then managing the facilities. The letter from Mr. Lappin states that CCA is only interested in buying prisons if the state selling the prison agrees to pay CCA to operate the prison for 20 years — at minimum. Mr. Lappin further notes that any prison to be sold must have at least 1,000 beds, and that the state must agree to keep the prison at least 90% full during the length of the contract.

The undersigned faith organizations urge you to decline this dangerous and costly invitation. CCA’s initiative would be costly

Continue reading

“about as fruitful as trying to squeeze information out of the Kremlin”

Which organization was this judge referring to?
Schuster told the directors that he thought [that organization] was supplying “vague” information and he directed that henceforth the sides meet monthly in his office for updates on the liquidation process. In short, Schuster is learning first hand — just like members, the media and the public at large have learned — that prying information out of [that organization] is usually about as fruitful as trying to squeeze information out of the Kremlin.
No, not that city council! No, not that county commission! Not even the state board of corrections. (Although some of them might want to try that bureaucratic shoe on to see if it fits.) Here’s who: Continue reading

Crossovers from the CUEE/Valwood donor list. —Alex Rowell

Received today. -jsq
Here’s the crossovers from the CUEE/Valwood donor list.

It seems like being on the board or even publicly supporting a group dedicated to combining two public school systems while being a trustee or donor of the community’s biggest private school might present a conflict of interest.

CUEE Board Member David Durland is a Valwood parent and donor.

Of the listed supporters on CUEE’s website, there are three Valwood trustees, one of whom is a spouse of another trustee: Ed Crane, Dutton Miller, and John Peeples (whose wife Jane is also a trustee).

Source on Valwood donors:
2010-2011 Annual Fund Donors As of June 30, 2011

Source on CUEE supporters/board:
CUEE, Inc. Board of Directors
Referendum Supporters