Ann Walling told the Recycling Public Advisory Council that the
proposed law is in "rough draft" form, but said she hopes a bill
will be ready for introduction soon after the General Assembly
returns from its holiday recess. She said the governor would
like to see it enacted before the Assembly calls it a session at
the end of June, but Walling declined to say whether she thinks
that will happen.
said David McBride, a recognized advocate of recycling, "wants
to sit down and talk with us" about sponsoring the measure in
the Democrat-controlled Senate. She added that she has "been in
touch with a couple of people" who might agree to be sponsors in
the House of Representatives, but declined to identify them.
Republicans control the House. The Assembly is completing the
first session of a two-year term. Legislation introduced now,
whether or not it clears one of the chambers, would carry over
into the 2006 session.
intent is not just to ram it through, but to make sure everybody
understands it," she said at a council meeting on May 25.
Walling, the governor's policy advisor, said she was "a little
bit embarrassed" about not reporting earlier to the recycling
council, which, in conjunction with the Department of Natural
Resources & Environmental Control and the Delaware Solid Waste
Authority, submitted daft legislation providing for a mandatory
statewide program to the governor in early January, indicating
that the delay resulted from the time it took to test political
found that a statewide mandatory program wasn't going anywhere,"
she said. Delaforum previously reported that the council had all
but given up on the prospects for a mandatory program.
Council chairman Paul Wilkinson said that he realized early-on
"that the word 'mandatory' is a killer." The council dropped
that reference from its report, proposed legislation and public
comments, but did not back away from the compulsory nature of
Although he said he still would like to see a mandatory program
as the quickest, most sure way to reach the state's stated goal
of diverting 30% of residential solid waste from landfills to
new uses, he accepts the political reality.
tried to run fast. Now we're going to have to slow down to a
fast walk," he said. "There are driving forces to make a
voluntary plan work -- if we want to make it work."
complained that conservation and other pro-recycling
organizations did not offer much support after details of the
council's proposed legislation reached the general public. "Our
bill went out and there was dead silence. There was nothing
coming out of environmental groups," he said.
governor's proposal, which Walling outlined in general terms for
the recycling council, does contain one mandatory provision -- a
statewide ban on disposing of yard waste in landfills. That
would require residents to mulch, compost or find other ways to
dispose of grass, leaves and such.
second-most controversial issue surrounding recycling would be
the almost necessary inclusion of a provision for establishing
districts in which a single trash collecting firm would hold an
exclusive franchise to handle recyclables. Smaller firms argue
that puts them at a competitive disadvantage.
governor's proposed legislation would empower counties, if they
desire, to establish recycling districts. Kent County presently
has trash-collection districts. Recycling districts also could
be established by petition from a so-far unspecified number of
residents of unincorporated areas. That could be interpreted as
permitting larger suburban communities to do so. A firm which
was given exclusive right to collect recyclables in an area
would be expected to do so for a lower rate.
Walling emphasized that the proposal calls for recycling
districts, not trash districts. "It's not our intention to put
anybody out of business," she said. She said some arrangement
for protecting smaller firms should be considered but, in
response to a question, would not speculate on what that might
proposal also would impose a fee of $3 for each ton of
non-recyclable trash on all trash haulers. That, Walling said,
would generate an estimated $3 million a year to be used for
such things as aiding municipalities to meet set-up costs,
counties to establish recycling districts, and the waste
authority to operate a processing facility without charge to
either firms or individuals who bring recyclables there.
Wilkinson put off to a future meeting polling council members
about their reaction to the governor's proposal. In doing so, he
indicated that he expects the recycling council to endorse it
and to concentrate on its role in mustering public support for
its quick enactment into law.
Pasquale Canzano, the waste authority's chief operating officer,
said that agency's position will be dependent upon "assurance
that the money to meet our costs is there." He pointed out that
the original draft legislation provided for the state to
underwrite any losses resulting from the cost of operating the
processing facility exceeding the amount realized from selling
Wright, executive director of the League of Local Governments,
said his organization's position will depend upon specifics in
the completed version of the proposed legislation. Municipal
government officials, he said, are wary about assuming the added
costs of a separate recycling operation on top of their own or
contracted trash hauling systems. "We have a tough sell out
there, but not because we don't want to do it," he said.
Jacobsohn, of the National Solid Waste Management Association,
who came from Washington to attend the meeting, similarly
declined to take a position pending completion of the draft