Waste Hauling Into Whitewater – 2017

WGTB logo PNG 112x89 Post 75 in a series. When Green Turns Brown is an examination of a small town’s digester-energy project, in which Whitewater, Wisconsin would import other cities’ waste, claiming that the result would be both profitable and green.

A few years (and seventy-five posts) ago, I began consideration of a local proposal to haul waste into Whitewater. Those posts became a series, with background work and discussions with people from across Wisconsin.

Last night, Whitewater announced publicly the results of a study on whether a supposed initial waste hauling plan might be feasible, using the Baker Tilly firm. The municipal government commissioned the study in March 2016, and the firm returned an opinion to the city in October 2016 that it would be infeasible.

I used the months since last year’s commissioning to read yet more, speak with others outside the city, and simply wait for the next local development. It seemed prudent to use the time patiently and productively.

The single most important result for our city is that this plan to haul waste into Whitewater will not go forward. That’s the right outcome for this community, and today this city is better off for the decision of her common council, and announcement of her city manager, to end the project.

Locally, I’ve sometimes been asked what I think of this city staff’s support for the project. It’s fair to say that there is a fundamental disagreement on the science of the project. Now or ten years from now, the case against waste hauling into Whitewater will rest on sound fiscal, economic, and environmental bases. Should a proposal arise again, as one heard predicted last night, one may be assured that the case against will be as strong, and fought even more vigorously.

I’ll not take the course of the wastewater superintendent and extend the local discussion gracelessly even at its conclusion; pride is a poor foundation for policy.

Each day one meets the world anew.

Many thanks to so many in town who were encouraging. We’ve a lovely town.

To those from across Wisconsin with whom I have productively corresponded & met, and from whom I have received analyses, studies, and sound insight: I am indebted to you. There are visits eagerly to be made, with correspondence and calls until we see each other again. There’s so much good work that you can and will carry out. You’ve your own efforts ongoing in your communities, and of course you’ve an ally here in all that you do.

It’s mild in Whitewater today: a good day, I think, for residents in this small and beautiful city.

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