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Indybay Feature
View other events for the week of 6/29/2004
Public Comment on AP & T plans for incinerator in East Bay
Date Tuesday June 29
Time 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Location Details
Alameda City Hall
2263 Santa Clara, 3rd Floor
(at Oak Street)
Event Type Other
This is so far the most important meeting
regarding the study of a garbage “gasification”
plant, an incinerator in disguise, by Alameda

We can stop the study and promote public health
and the pursuit of better energy alternatives
and zero-waste programs. This campaign could
have national and possibly broader implications –
don’t pave the way for gasification in other

Alameda Power and Telecom

June 29, 2004
7:00 pm

Alameda City Hall
2263 Santa Clara, 3rd Floor
(at Oak Street)

Read the lastest article:

Preliminary study examines heating waste materials until they become synthetic gas


ALAMEDA -- The Island's power company is seeking
public comment next week on
a controversial $500,000 study of a
proposed "gasification plant" that would
convert garbage into elec-tricity.

The study, prepared by Concord-based Advanced
Energy Strategies, considers
the viability of the new concept of heating
waste materials, such as papers
and plastics, at an extremely high temperature
until they are broken down
into a synthetic gas. The synthetic gas,
called "syngas," would then be used
to fuel conventional turbines generating

According to Alameda Power & Telecom officials,
gasification may be able to
inexpensively produce as much as 20 percent of
Alameda's electricity needs
and at the same time reduce pressure on

But even though the gasification plant is still
in an exploratory stage, it
has generated considerable opposition. Some San
Leandro residents are
balking at locating the gasification plant at
the Davis Street Transfer
Station because of potential adverse health
effects caused by the process.

Members of Greenaction, a San Francisco-based
health and environmental
justice group, contend the gasification process,
which they say is basically
incineration, causes harmful emissions of toxins
such as dioxin, sulfur
trioxides and mercury. They claim the high
volume of waste required to
generate synthetic gas would significantly
reduce the amount of waste
materials currently being recycled.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency
considers dioxin a highly toxic
substance. According to the EPA Web site,
exposure to elevated levels may
cause cancer, birth defects and skin diseases.

Greenaction Community Organizer Francesca
Francia said community members
from Alameda, Oakland and San Leandro have
organized the Tri-City Coalition
for Alternatives to Incineration to oppose the

Francia said much of the opposition is based on
past experiences with waste
incinerators and the poor performance of the
Brightstar gasification plant
in Wollongog, Australia. Brightstar, one of the
only gasification plants in
the world, recently closed.

"Brightstar exceeded emission levels for several
toxic substances, including
dioxin, arsenic and sulphuric acid," she
said. "But regardless of toxic
emissions, the fact is Brightstar had a lot of
operating problems, and the
community was against it."

Alameda Power & Telecom spokesman Bill Garvine
said Alameda is facing a
reduction in its current power supply, and the
city is on the verge of a
growth spurt, which will increase the demand for

The largest development is expected to occur at
Alameda Point. At 770 acres,
the former Naval air station is the largest
undeveloped property in the Bay

Garvine did not dispute the claim the
gasification process creates
emissions, but he said the real question is
whether they would be harmful.

"Gasification is an emerging technology, and
with the responsibility of
providing Alameda's future electricity needs, we
thought maybe we ought to
look at the possibility of constructing a
plant," he said. "(Gasification)
may be a great thing for society, and it also
may not be. That's why we
commissioned the study, to learn more about it."

Garvine said Alameda Power has no intention of
developing a gasification
plant if it is likely to cause harm. He pointed
out that 91 percent of
Alameda's electricity is generated from
renewable sources, one of the
highest percentages of any municipality in the
state. About 53 percent comes
from geothermal sources, and another 38 percent
from hydroelectricity. The
rest comes from traditional gas-driven turbines.

"We have demonstrated that we care a great deal
about what our renew

For more information about the Tri-City
Coalition for Alternatives to Incineration and
to get involved,

contact Greenaction at 415-248-5010
Added to the calendar on Monday Jun 28th, 2004 1:45 PM
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