To be clear, I should explain up front, that my personal feelings and those of many of my friends that I informally represent are that we strongly urge you to shut this facility down and replace it with a safer, less polluting alternative as quickly as possible. I would also like to see aggressive waste reduction and recycling. But I realize it is not Christmas and you are not Santa.

In trying to understand why we can't solve this problem, I have tried to understand the people, institutions and their motivations.


  1. we have an incinerator that many years ago seemed like a good idea, but now is recognized as a point source for a number of pollutants, especially dioxin.
  2. we have a demonstrated inability to reduce the output to a negotiated level.
  3. we have one population that has a large financial obligation, but a much larger population, as far away as the Arctic that is paying an environmental price.

Assessment: This appears to be an environmental problem whose ultimate resolution is primarily a financial problem.
It seems that the city's proposals are linked to continued use of the incinerator because of the debt associated with it. I would assume that off the record, if they were given the opportunity they would gladly consider non-incinerator options. If that is a correct assumption, how can we get them help?

I think it is critical to realize that since the population that would benefit by elimination of the incinerator is much greater than the city limits, we should look beyond the city limits for funding. I suggest we look at state and federal funding sources. The largest impact is probably to the people of Pennsylvania; perhaps a state imposed surcharge on landfills in combination with federal grants?

But if we agree all the beneficiaries should contribute; who will move this forward. There is no motivation for anyone entity to take on this task. Harrisburg represents only part of the affected population, DEP is charged with enforcement, the state would like Harrisburg to take care of "their problem". So who negotiates this deal? Part of my request would be to ask DEP help negotiate a financial way out of this for Harrisburg, in the interest of reducing pollution for everyone. Facing imminent shutdown, they might be willing to accept an "out of court settlement" to shut down if DEP facilitated some funding options.

What can I do to help? I don't have any illusion that my testimony has created any break through, but I wanted you to know there are a lot of people that share my opinions and make an offer to help in any way that I can. Please feel free to contact me, either now or in the future.