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Coalition to Oppose Attacks on Recycling In America

background | press release | reasons for opposition

Letter to the Governor of Iowa

May 27, 2003

The Honorable Thomas J. Vilsack, Governor
Attn: John Pederson
State Capitol
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

Re: Senate File 458 -- Provision Lifting Yard Waste Ban

Dear Governor Vilsack:

The Coalition to Oppose Attacks on Recycling in America, a coalition of eight national and state environmental and recycling organizations, urges you to veto Section 133 of Senate File 458 creating new subsection 64.11. That provision of the bill is a frontal assault on one of the more successful pillars of America recycling policy, and it would constitute the first-ever effort to roll back one of America's most successful efforts to reduce dependence on unsafe landfills.

We urge veto of the provision for the following four reasons:

1. The yard waste ban is one of the two pillars of America's success story with recycling, and its repeal in Iowa would be a terrible precedent.

2. The claims made in support of the repeal are false, composting has been found to be far more effective at reducing greenhouse gases in general, and, specifically with regard to yard debris, all of the grass will have decomposed before effective gas collection can even be installed.

3. Even if the issue is considered solely on its economic merits, five times more can be saved by simply eliminating collection of grass clippings than by eliminating the separate yard waste collection.

4. It would not be rational to lift the ban on landfilling yard waste just because some complain that the state has not yet gotten around to extending that ban to open burning extend the ban to open burning instead.

For the details underlying these four points, please refer to our attached position paper.

Last year a similar attempt was made to repeal the Illinois yard waste ban, and when the attempt was brought to the public attention, the effort was defeated. We trust that Iowa, with its long progressive traditions, will not want to be the first state to take such a retrogressive act.

Thank you very much for your attention.





Bill Sheehan, Co-Director
Grassroots Recycling Network and on behalf of

U.S. Composting Council
Natural Resources Defense Council
Friends of the Earth
Institute for Local Self Reliance
Eureka Recycling
Ecology Center (AnnArbor)
Filtrexx International (Des Moines)

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