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Moment of truth for trash-to-power incinerator; who's at the center of booming cities?

Marc Lefkowitz  |  01/10/12 @ 11:19am

· Opposition is gearing up for tonight's hearing on whether the EPA should grant the city of Cleveland a permit for a waste gasification plant. Environmental groups like EarthDay Coalition have concerns that it adds toxins to our air. City Councilman Brian Cummins adds that the city is taking a $180 million gamble to be the first city in the U.S. to start one of these complicated systems. For its part, Mayor Jackson's staff has not been proactive in handling their concerns. Meanwhile, Scene Magazine in December published an expose of Peter Tien who they write sold "wonderful promises" to the city. The article casts doubt on the middle man's ability to deliver on the "waste-to-energy" promise. We share some of those concerns, and wonder why the city doesn't set its sights on the source of the problem-waste reduction and a supporting local recycling, upcycling and reuse economy with a BHAG like Seattle's 75% (residential) recycling rate? As Neil Seldman, President, Institute for Local Self-Reliance told a group of Clevelanders last year, alternatives to incinerating trash would produce a win-win for the environment and the local economy.

· Two economists at the Cleveland Fed find that shrinking cities like Cleveland lost density at their core while boom cities like Chicago had the same sprawl but also a stable population at the center. They conclude that economic policies like highway building and mortgage tax deductions are at odds with returning strength to cities.

· The Heights Bicycle Coalition needs your help setting priorities to make Cleveland Heights a more bike and pedestrian friendly city in 2012. Take their short online survey.

· The developer of the Lake Erie wind farm is lobbying Governor Kasich. They've met with his policy advisors to ask for a carve out for Ohio-produced wind in the state's renewable energy portfolio standard-a mandate for utilities to purchase 12.5% of their electricity from renewable resources by 2025 that passed in 2008, Crains Cleveland reported last week.

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