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Ask Governor DeSantis to VETO Senate Bill 1764!

If this becomes law, it'll divert hundreds of millions of state taxpayer money into bailing out and expanding Florida's filthy and expensive trash burning industry.

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Dear Governor DeSantis,

I urge you to please VETO Senate Bill 1764.

This law would be a huge waste of Florida taxpayer money, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars thrown at an expensive and outdated trash burning industry that threatens our resiliency by contributing to flooding and sea level rise, harms water quality and contaminates our fish with mercury, harms the state's recycling industry, and harms our economy in multiple other ways.

This is not fiscally conservative. The bill's original price tag of $100 million per year was lifted, leaving a blank check to prop up an uneconomical dying industry. It would support most of the state's ten trash incinerators with electricity subsidies, plus throw matching funds toward any attempt to expand or build new incinerators. The only new incinerator built in the U.S. since 1995 is in West Palm Beach and cost county taxpayers $672 million. Hundreds of other incinerators were proposed in the country in that time and were defeated by their own economics or by community opposition. How much of our money will be wasted on consultants to pursue building new incinerators that no community will accept?

Trash incinerators are the most expensive and polluting way to manage waste or to make energy. Putting resources into waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting will create many times more jobs and still conserve landfill space without the high expense and pollution. An analysis of the bill by Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services showed that building a new trash incinerator is six times more expensive than building a new gas-fired power plant.

It threatens your resilience plans. Your Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan aims to tackle storm surge flooding and rising seas, recognizing that our environment and economy are inextricably linked. It's a step backwards to back a new generation of trash burners as the current aging plants reach their end of life. Trash incineration aggravates flooding and sea level rise twice as much as landfilling, and many times more than waste reduction approaches.

It threatens our water quality and contaminates our fish with mercury. Florida's Department of Health has issued over 2,000 fish consumption advisories, warning that fish in every county in the state are too toxic to safely eat. 99% of those fish consumption advisories are due to high mercury levels. One third of the highly toxic mercury pollution released in the state comes from our trash incinerators, according to data reported to Florida's Department of Environmental Protection.

It harms the state's recycling industry, affecting more jobs and a bigger economy. Trump's EPA Chief of Staff recently slammed this legislation as harming the recycling economy (see "Florida Taxpayers Shouldn't Subsidize Outdated Waste Technology"). Florida's recycling industry handles five times as much material as the state's trash incinerators, which mainly burn recyclable and compostable materials. And each ton of material recycled creates 5-10 times as many jobs as incineration. If jobs and the economy are a concern, this law is the wrong direction.

It harms our economy in multiple other ways. Even with their air pollution controls, incinerators release many harmful pollutants and are among the state's largest air polluters. This pollution contributes to asthma, cancer, heart attacks, and a myriad of other problems. Asthma alone has been calculated to cost the U.S. economy $82 million a year due to missed work and school days. Asthma is a top reason for school absenteeism. Nine of the worst 100 places in the country to live with asthma are in Florida, and four of these communities are near trash incinerators.

We have less harmful alternatives in place, and a state recycling goal that is being held back by incineration being counted as recycling, as if lighting commodities on fire helps put those materials back into our economy.

Please VETO Senate Bill 1764 and let's revisit the state's policy on how best to manage waste, and have a healthier and more resilient economy.

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