they go along with anything close to Governor Ruth Ann Minner's
game plan when they do vote, they will punt the two most
controversial elements of the proposal and let county and local
governments decide whether to run with them.
face it; legislators are not clamoring for a recycling bill,"
Lee Ann Walling, the governor's policy advisor, told the
Recycling Public Advisory Council.
24-page draft of a Senate bill which she placed before the
council for comment and endorsement before the final version is
prepared was carefully crafted to deal with "legislative
realities," she said. "It's a complicated bill. It has a number
of moving parts."
too late in the session to expect enactment before the scheduled
adjournment on June 30. Bills introduced into the first of two
annual sessions and not acted upon carry over to the second
Delaforum previously reported that it would, the bill calls for
establishing voluntary residential recycling programs throughout
the state. Other than provisions for educating the public about
the merits of recycling, it is vague on such details as what, if
any, incentives might be offered to achieve a goal of diverting
nearly a third of residential waste from landfills and reusing
Clearly the key provisions in the draft distributed at the
council meeting on Jun. 9 are contained in six of its 502 lines:
"Municipalities electing to implement a curbside recycling
program are in no way precluded from requiring mandatory
participation by residents within their jurisdictions." As used
there, 'municipalities' include not only cities and towns but
also county governments.
[a] county government determines as a result of a request
through petition or of its own volition, after a public hearing,
that it is in the public interest to create the proposed
[recycling] district, it shall pass a resolution to that
generally agreed by members of the council and others that
mandatory recycling would be politically difficult to achieve on
a statewide basis. While that is regarded as probably true on
most local levels as well, it also is agreed that some form of
compulsion will eventually be required if the goal is to
be achieved and, especially, if it is to be achieved within
three years after a law is enacted.
governor's draft does contain a mandatory element in that it
would flatly ban disposing of most forms of yard waste at any of
the three Delaware Solid Waste Authority landfills.
Walling pointed out that both tax collection and the state's ban
on smoking in public places can be considered as unpopular, but
both rely on and receive a large measure of voluntary
compliance. Pasquale Canzano, the waste authority's chief
operating officer, pointed out that a consultant with a national
reputation in the field concluded that, even with a mandatory
system, "if you get 65% of the people doing what they're
supposed to do, you're doing well."
Including a section setting up a procedure for county government
to establish recycling districts, in which a bidding process
would be used to grant to one collection firm an exclusive
franchise to pick up recyclables, brings that issue to the fore.
draft legislation provides that 25 property owners within an
unincorporated area that can be defined by "ascertainable
boundaries" can petition county government to establish such a
district. The government would contract with the successful
bidder; apportion the contracted-for fee among all properties
within the area served, whether or not an owner elects to use
the service; and levy a separate tax to be collected along with
Walling said New Castle County officials have indicated that
they favor "going all the way" and including all trash
collecting within a system of districts. Smaller collection
firms oppose such arrangements on the grounds that they would be
unable to outbid the large firms, which presently hold most of
the market, and would be driven out of business.
Todd, of the League of Women Voters, noted that the draft
legislation would prohibit any one firm from obtaining
franchises to serve an entire county, but said a literal reading
of that provision would permit a near monopoly on the business.
She and Canzano both said legislation should stick by the
council's previous position that any districting provide for a
'level playing field' for all qualified firms.
legislation is to prove controversial among the general public,
discussion at the council meeting indicated that there is not
initial in-house agreement.
are issues that need to be taken care of in the bill," Canzano
said. He specified uncertainty over the extent to which the
waste authority would be liable if it accepted contraband
material buried in a truckload of general trash. Neither the
authority nor the collection firms should or could be expected
to inspect everything a householder puts out for collection, he
said. James Werner, director of the air and waste management
division of the Department of Natural Resources & Environmental
Control, said his agency does not have the manpower to enforce
down to that level.
Wright, executive director of the League of Local Governments,
declined to comment on provisions of the draft legislation on
the grounds that he was seeing the material for the first time
and would have to go through it to gauge its impact on municipal
governments. He said he would deliver his organization's
response directly to the governor's office.
objected to the fact that Minner was not forthcoming with
proposed legislation sooner. "I'm very disappointed that nothing
will be done for another year," she said.
Wilkinson, who represents the Delaware Environmental Alliance
for Senior Involvement and chairs the council, said he hoped the
diverse council can reach some kind of consensus to convey to
the governor before the final version is produced. He said he
"is willing to accept compromise, [but] we can't compromise down
governor's draft is significantly different from the
recommendation that the council, in conjunction with the waste
authority and the natural resources department, presented to the
governor at the beginning of the year.
Walling said Minner wants her proposed legislation to go before
the Assembly with the blessings of the recycling council.