- Nearly every public landfill in South Carolina is paid for with revenue bonds. Those bonds are paid from fees—commonly referred to as “tipping fees”—charged for waste disposal.
- H 3290 prohibits any law which “directs the flow of waste.”
- Counties are able to pay the bonds referenced above based on projections for the amount of waste that comes to a facility. If the counties can longer project how much waste is coming to a facility, it will be more difficult to pay the bonds, and money will have to come out of the general fund or the facility will have to be sold, likely to one of the private trash companies that are already in South Carolina.
- Counties are able to limit the amount of waste which comes to the landfills they own. However, the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution prohibits local government from banning out-of-state waste into privately-owned landfills. The private landfills can take as much trash as they want from wherever they want.
- The reason why those privately-owned landfills want to bring more trash to South Carolina is because they do so at a fraction of the cost it would take them to dump it another state. In some cases, the private companies save as much as $100 per ton. When you consider that hundreds of thousands of out-of-state trash is already dumped in South Carolina, you realize that tens of millions of dollars per year is at stake. That’s why they want H. 3290 passed.
According to news articles from New York: “In Fiscal Year 2010, the city [New York] paid $31 million for the processing of 222,576 tons of garbage to Allied Waste Systems [subsequently purchased by Republic Services, Inc.], which won a long-term contract with the city to cart the borough’s trash to it’s South Carolina landfill. Recyclables are not processed at SITS [Staten Island Transfer Station].”(silive.com/Staten Island Live, November 14, 2010 at 9:02 a.m.) In other words, Staten Island paid just over $139 per ton to dispose of waste, while the South Carolina average tipping fee is just over $38.00 per ton.
“Staten Islanders are grateful that landfill is not on the borough. Instead, it is in South Carolina.” (NY1.com, September 27, 2011 at 10:39 p.m.)
Why should the General Assembly vote “no” on H. 3290?
Public Opposes What the Bill Does
- Statewide survey of S.C. voters showed that 88.2% oppose out-of-state waste
- 76.4% favor county council involvement in regulating solid waste collection and disposal
Opens the Door for More Out of State Waste
- Local governments can reject waste coming into a publically owned landfill
- Unconstitutional for a local government to prohibit out of state waste coming into a privately owned landfill
- Out of state waste increased 4% between FY2011 and FY2012
- Over 600,000 tons in FY2012; some of this is sewage sludge railed in from NYC
Takes Away Local Control and Accountability
- Authority for regulating the collection and disposal of waste is taken from locally elected and accountable officials and given to giant out of state corporations
- Public waste facilities keep prices lower and provide higher quality service because they are run by a publically accountable local board or county council rather than an out of state corporation looking to maximize profits
- Public operations will be removed from the market by the inability to finance themselves and their future closing costs
- There is a risk that only private landfills will survive or be built after passage of this legislation – creating a private monopoly for out of state corporations
Jeopardizes Current and Future Bonds
- Solid waste revenue bonds are low risk financial investment instruments that allow counties to fund projects that benefit their local community
- Public facilities can respond to market changes by utilizing ordinances to guarantee solid waste volume and revenue to pay back the bonds - H. 3290 takes away that ordinance ability
- Without these bonds, citizens and taxpayers could see fewer services offered and higher taxes
Will Reduce Recycling
- Public operations are required to meet the state’s recycling goals while private sector is not