Economic hard times create opportunities for the opportunistic. Governments are desperate to spend bundles of cash on "infrastructure" just to show their citizens that they're not standing idly by while the economy crashes.
This gets the attention of politically connected entrepreneurs like Rod Bryden, who was profiled in the Globe and Mail last weekend. Read all about his glitch-ridden Plasco gasification technology that will flourish as long as it can count on government capital grants, municipalities paying him to use their garbage as fuel and electric utilities paying premium rates for dirty energy.
And the BC Liberal government's Speech from the Throne this week was a full-barrelled commitment to subsidizing "alternative energy." The government promised to "use all the means at its disposal" to suport this industry.
Ominously, the Throne Speech also promised to "outlaw" export of waste from the province. Are they looking at garbage as the alternative fuel?
That was the proposal in proposed "clean and renewable energy" guidelines put out for comment this summer.
The responses were sharply divided between citizens (who said the government should not under any circumstances encourage the burning of waste for energy) and opportunists (the longest submission was a consescending sermon from Covanta, who are expanding their incineration empire into BC by buying the company that operates the Burnaby incinerator and pitching an additional project in Gold River).
Jeff Nagel reports that the garbage industry is deploying politically-connected lobbyists in Victoria to get access to our garbage. Metro Waste Committee Chair Marvin Hunt complained to The Tyee that he's been "flooded" with calls.
Who will get the government's ear? Not us, unless we begin flooding them with calls of our own.