Since EnviroSolutions Inc. (ESI)) submitted an application to extend the life of its construction debris landfill and install a state-of-the-art Green Energy Park, local developer Bill Lynch has conjured story upon story to oppose this transformational opportunity for Fairfax County. The community deserves better than stories substituting for facts when engaging in public dialogue.
Initially, Mr. Lynch’s story was that ESI broke a promise to convert the landfill to a park. The fact is the Park Authority reversed its commitment to take ownership of the land after closure thus preventing the proposed park from happening.
The next story was that construction debris landfills are not needed “because 100 percent of construction debris can be recycled”, citing a recycling facility he uses which allegedly recycles 100 percent of the debris he takes there. The fact is this recycling facility sends a majority of its material to landfills and an incinerator – hardly recycling.
Today the story is that 85 percent of construction debris can be recycled. The fact is that last year 24 percent of the volume accepted at ESI’s landfill came from other recycling facilities in the region which could not recycle this material. Another 42 percent of the volume arriving at the landfill was dirt which could not be handled by the type of recycling operations that Mr. Lynch cites. He fails to note the ESI landfill recycled more material than any of the recycling facilities in the area.
A new story is that ESI’s proposal is not “green energy” because of methane. Here are the facts the storyteller omits. The Sierra Club came out in favor of ESI’s Green Energy Park. The Sierra Club does not oppose the capture and use of methane for the production of electricity, as this prevents release of this greenhouse producing gas and recycles it into energy.
The storyteller also omits the fact that ESI Green Energy Park will feature a methane capture system enabling this gas to produce electricity. Along with the wind turbines, solar farm and geothermal energy the ESI proposal tangibly demonstrates the role of renewable energy in Fairfax County’s future and the County’s commitment to sustainability. This is why the Sierra Club testified in support of the ESI Green Energy Park.
Providing a local depository for construction debris though 2034 not only meets the county’s stated need for supporting redevelopment and revitalization but it avoids having to truck construction debris long-distances, creating more diesel emissions and adding to our congestion problem.
The combination of producing electricity from renewable sources, preventing methane release into the atmosphere and avoiding the diesel emissions from trucking debris long distances means the ESI Green Energy Park will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3.6 million tons over the life of the project. And that’s no story!
Conrad Mehan, Director of Community Relations