Virginia Waste Bill Is ‘Garbage’: Market Advocates Decry VA Assembly ‘Betrayal’ of Free Enterprise and State Residents

Virginia Waste Bill Is ‘Garbage’: Market Advocates Decry VA Assembly ‘Betrayal’ of Free Enterprise and State Residents

February 08, 1999

Washington, D.C., February 9, 1999 – Environmental analysts decried the solid waste bills passed at crossover by the Va. assembly as a betrayal of free enterprise and the benefits it brings to rural, financially strapped communities in Virginia. "This Republican initiative will harm poor, rural Virginians the most, while providing no environmental benefits," commented Angela Logomasini, director of risk and environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The key elements of legislation are caps on the amount of trash that landfills may take as well as caps expanding the sizes of landfills. "It is ironic that Republican lawmakers – the so-called guardians of free-enterprise – have decided that it’s okay to cap economic growth of entire local economies," said Logomasini. Apparently, they don’t care much if these communities won’t be able to meet growing needs or if localities have to raise taxes to meet such needs. For poor individuals, capping growth and opportunity as well as increasing pressure for higher local taxes represents a cruel political compromise."

Also included is the trash barge ban. "It’s absurd that lawmakers have prohibited the safest way to transport solid waste," said Logomasini. Lawmakers claim that the barge ban won’t increase truck traffic, which some have claimed, because the capacity limits and landfills will keep out-of-state trash out anyway. Logomasini questioned that justification. "If that’s true, then why impose the barge ban at all? Still, this policy won’t to even allow barges to replace the trucks already found on the state’s congested highways. In that case, lawmakers are simply capping current congestion, highway fatalities, and pollution levels, rather than leaving open the possibility for the safer, more environmentally sound option." said Logomasini.

"State residents should be wary of lawmaker’s promises that they’ve keep pain to a minimum by simply ‘capping’ rather than eliminating free-enterprise. Lawmakers have more tricks up their sleeves as it appears that the long term plan is to get Congress pass legislation allowing the state to ban free trade wholesale – shutting off the source of economic viability to many for Virginia’s rural, financially strapped communities," said Logomasini.

CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information, contact Emily McGee, director of media relations, at 202-331-1010.