Families Against Cancer & Toxics

Stop cancer before it starts


Cochise County is considering signing a 20-year agreement with a 10-month old private company who will build a "plasma converter" in Cochise County. On the surface the idea is really exciting. The county's garbage and old tires would be transformed into free electricity and clean water. The plasma converter industry representatives promise absolutely no toxic output at all, not from toxic air emissions, nor toxic solid waste, nor toxics in the water. If these claims were true, the project would be worthy of support. But the company proposing the idea has not provided any data to substantiate the claims. And the claims defy the laws of science. Also keep in mind there is no such garbage-to-energy plant in operation in the U.S. nor in the world. Does Cochise County really want to be the first?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005
It was announced today at the Cochise County Board of Supervisors Work Session that Global Energy Resources has backed out and is no longer seeking to build an incinerator in Cochise County.

Many residents, journalists, activists, politicians, public health professionals and government employees made sure the right questions were being answered before rushing to install this immature technology.

We can all breathe a little easier now.

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Articles and documents:

Memorandum on plasma arc 'a dead issue' SV Herald, 6/29/2005.

County discusses energy plant SV Herald, 6/28/2005.

The incinerator versus the laws of physics and economics Bisbee Observer, 6/2005.

Residents oppose waste proposal SV Herald, 6/15/2005.

Wrong company, wrong deal for county SV Herald, 6/5/2005.

Text of agreement with Global Energy Resources Here is the scary MOU, which could embroil Cochise County into a 40-year air-toxics disaster.

Residents urge supervisors not to pursue proposal SV Herald, 5/25/2005.

Weird Science - Shifting explanations cloud a proposed Cochise County project Tucson Weekly, 5/25/2005.

County official has tie to two in waste-to-energy idea SV Herald, 5/20/2005.

Burning Questions: One cozy cadre pushes a funky Cochise County project Tucson Weekly, 5/19/2005. Expose on prior relationship between county official and incinerator promoters; revelation of GE's false claim that fraud charges were dropped because "Dr.Kazanchain was a victim of identity theft."

Another town offers a lesson for Cochise letter to editor, SV Herald, 5/12/2005.

Agreement on 'waste to energy' plant nearing completion SV Herald, 5/10/2005.

Overview of landfills and recycling in Cochise County SV Herald, 5/8/2005.

Garbage-to-energy plant a small step closer in Cochise Arizona Daily Star, 4/13/2005.

Board seeks draft letter, more details Sierra Vista Herald, 4/13/2005.

Opinion: Cochise should check out risky technology AZ Daily Star, 4/9/2005.

Electricity from trash possible, problematic AZ Daily Star, 4/8/2005.

Public Urged to Attend County Meeting on Proposed Incinerator Concerned Cochise County Residents, 4/7/2005.

The Sierra Club wrote a letter urging Cochise County to reject the incinerator proposal.

Minutes from "Back Room" meeting of the Cochise County solid waste Rate Review Advisory Board, held on 2/14/2005.

Assessment of plasma arc idea, public input needed County Supervisor Paul Newman, SV Herald, 3/4/2005.

Klein: County could have handled plasma arc matter better SV Herald, 3/2/2005.

Alarming "Back Room" Meeting Concerned Cochise County Residents press release, 2/28/2005

Recycling important part of managed growth Jim Jones, Sierra Vista Environmental Affairs Commission, SV Herald, 2/27/2005.

Questions about Landfill Alternatives Committee Michael Gregory, Arizona Toxics Information, Bisbee. SV Herald, 2/25/2005.

HC concerned about its landfill if idea is OK'd SV Herald, 2/25/2005.

From Trash to Gas Lee Basner explains his pro-incinerator position, SV Herald, 2/24/2005.

Newman questions move on waste-to-energy idea SV Herald, 2/23/2005.

Company touts plasma technology plant SV Herald, 2/22/2005.

Landfill board OKs waste proposal SV Herald, 2/21/2005.

Action alert! The citizen committee that wants a plasma converter incinerator gave their report at a closed meeting on 2/14/2005, urging the County to sign the 20-year agreement and begin the engineering phase for the incinerator. At the closed meeting the solid waste committee rate review board fast-tracked their approval and recommended sending the pro-incinerator report to the County for a vote. Call your County Board of Supervisors today, (520) 432-9200! Tell them that there are three great alternatives to landfills:
1. Reduce!
2. Reuse!
3. Recycle!
and that burning garbage and tires will create a toxic disaster.

Incinerator-promoter Lee Basnar writes article attacking landfills, SV herald, 2/10/2005.

General Electric responds to FACT's 24 questions for Global Energy Resources. LH Hamilton did not find these answers sufficient, but when he asked for more information neither GER nor GE met his deadline.

Landfill Alternatives Committee formed. Lee Basner steered the county toward the plasma converter incinerator in the first place, and now he is chair of an "alternatives" group. Ahem.

1/5/2005 Concerned Cochise County Residents formed and agreed on this
Factsheet (or PDF) asking the county to Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! and not to burn garbage and tires, which would endanger health.

Do the research right now SV Herald, 12/19/2004, excellent editorial about the need for concrete answers before any money is spent.

Firm's waste-to-energy proposal gets scrutinized SV Herald, 12/17/2004, about the public meeting with Bradley Angel of Greenaction, who shared information debunking past incinerator claims.

FACT's 24 Questions for Global Energy Resources
FACT is grateful to LH Hamilton, Cochise County Facilities Manager, for bringing these questions to his 12/7/2004 meeting with GER, and requiring they answer the questions within 30 days. We are also grateful for the insight of Bradley Angel of Greenaction and Cochise County Supervisor Paul Newman, who helped craft the questions.

The county is reviewing a proposal to change trash into a recyclable
The Sierra Vista Herald's excellent investigative story about the proposal and community concerns, from 11/21/2004.

Incinerator can't change lead and other elements
Letter from Keith Bagwell, former environmental reporter for the Arizona Daily Star.

Plasma converter has much to be considered Terry Nordbrock, Families Against Cancer & Toxics (FACT) Sierra Vista Herald 11/19/2004.

Industry meeting in Bisbee on 11/9/04.

Turning garbage into energy: alchemy or alternative? SV Herald, 11/4/2004.
The idea for building this plasma converter in Cochise County was floated in this article by Lee Basnar.

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Q: Is plasma arc incineration?

A: Yes! The US EPA defines a Plasma-Arc Reactor as:
An incinerator that operates at extremely high temperatures;
treats highly toxic wastes that do not burn easily

gasification - The act or process of converting into gas.
vitrification - To change or make into glass or a glassy substance, especially through heat fusion.

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This technology has a history of failures:

Plasma incinerator in Hawaii fined 5/29/04 Machine malfunction leads to 90,000 lbs of medical waste (including body parts) sitting in the sun.

Plasma Converter Failed Chemical Weapons Demonstration
Information about Startech's attempt in 1999 to convince the DOD to use their plasma converter.

20-Year Garbage-to-Energy Became Finanacial Disaster in MNStar-Tribune, 10/11/2004.

Smokestacks of ill-fated power plant to be demolished Columbus Dispatch, 2/15/2005.

Toxic incinerator fire evacuates 1500 in Arkansas

Alabama chemical weapons incinerator shut down by fire

This technology also has a history of corruption

Official charged with bribery in waste-to-energy proposal

Phoenix waste disposal plant trafficking meth

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For more information about plasma converters:

The Greenaction website has a wealth of information on many types of incinerators. Greenaction's executive director Bradley Angel visited Cochise County on 12/16/2004 and shared his knowledge about some deceptive practices by incinerator companies.

Another good source of information is the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.

Rising from the Ashes Article about incineration in U.S., 2003.

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Companies involved in the Cochise County proposal:

There is also very interesting information from the manufacturer of the plasma converter, Startech.

Here is the (one-page) website for the (six-month old) company that would like Cochise County to give them a (twenty-year) contract for their plasma converter incinerator, Global Energy Resources. Note: the Cheif Technology Officer's phone number is "no longer in service."

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Good alternatives to landfills and incinerators:

Zero Waste

Aiming for zero waste

Cochise County Freecycle

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Based in Sierra Vista and Tucson, FACT formed in 2003 when parents of children with cancer gathered to encourage investigation into the childhood leukemia cluster in Sierra Vista, Arizona. FACT's mission is to prevent future cases of childhood cancer. One way we seek to achieve this goal is by reducing the amount of carcinogens and toxics released in our community.
Families Against Cancer & Toxins


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