Previously, we reviewed why Cumberland County was targeted. Basically, we matched a profile of an “Easy Victim”. Now we want to explain more about the trash company’s strategy, their emotional/psychological tactics and their “Sales Pitch”.
Trash Company’s Strategy…
“Industry trade journals stress the importance of quiet, advance “scouting” of locations to size up factors as potential friends among local politicians, business, news media and even potential allies among established environmental groups.” Aware of any Cumberland County political connections?
“A key part of many site selections is to try to find a location where the site touches on several different political jurisdictions.” Coincidence that the proposed site is in Cumberland’s District 2 and also borders Powhatan?
“Usually, a … site will be picked that it’s as far away from, for example, the county seat or population center where it is located, so the main people bothered by it or across the county (or state) line, but are relatively powerless to pressure elected officials in a “host” county to block it.” Hmmm…Cumberland County Districts in comparison to Board Members pushing the proposed site? Hmmm…Powhatan residents who are impacted but unable to apply political pressure to Cumberland Board Members?
The Trash Company’s Emotional/Psychological Tactics…
- Right at the onset, the supporters of the facility or deal will try to strip you of your faith in your own common sense, intelligence and knowledge of the land and community.
- You will be told that only calm, rational, technical arguments will be accepted.
- They will try to strip you of your sense of hope.
- They will try to give you the impression that the permitting process is on a fast track and that you’ll never catch up with the judgement.
It’s OK to be angry and emotional and it’s your right to ask questions, to use your common sense, and intelligence! Remember: this decision is not about facts, logic, needs, or science – it’s about politics. (And I will add, Money!!)
The Trash Company’s Sales Pitch…look these over and let us know if any of these sound familiar.
- Trash Company, “It’s got to go somewhere.”
Truth – “Just Say No!” Scientifically, the best place to dispose waste is the place where it’s generated. That is the safest way to do it and, as many businesses are discovering, the cheapest in the long run.
- Trash Company, “It’s very selfish to expect that you can enjoy all the benefits of our society’s technology, and not be willing to accept the risks.” .
Truth – They’ll call you a NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) – and they’ll act like it’s some sort of mental illness. “NIMBY is industry’s term for democracy.” Is it immoral for you to have questions about where it’s fair that your community should have or even need a dump? No! Is it fair that our community should pay host to some gigantic dump that will take waste from other states? No! There is nothing to feel guilty about in opposing a dump! Also, know that when an insurance company calls a site an “unacceptable risk”, they are praised by their colleagues for making a smart business decision. Alternately, when you call the same project an “unacceptable risk”, you get called unreasonable, hysterical, etc. Are we expected to assume risks that the insurance industry won’t touch?
- Trash Company, “This is state of the art technology.”
Truth – This means that the all of the industry’s previous designs have failed, so they’re going to try something new, with you as the guinea pigs. “Despite all of the industry claims, their track record on dealing with the disposal of hazardous and solid wastes has been pitiful. You have a right to be skeptical of any new process from an industry that has yet to prove it is trustworthy. As you know, the Titanic was “state of the art” as was the Challenger, Hubble Telescope, and Exxon Valdez.
- Trash Company, “This is the best site for this type of facility.”
Truth – “The Cerrell Report says otherwise!” We now know that the site selection has NOTHING to do with scientific or technical merits but with us being an ‘easy target’ along with the political climate.
- Trash Company, “This facility will bring jobs and prosperity, jobs, new industry, and a bigger tax base.”
Truth – “And if it rained ice cream we all could have dessert!” Look at these economic factors/facts:
- Most sites offer very few new jobs. Most new jobs offered, that are not “based pay” or minimum wage, are technical positions filled form outside.
- Here are public service costs including wear-and-tear on the roads, the need to train and equip emergency personnel to deal with the inevitable disasters, and the lost property values in the community.
- There’s no evidence a waste site will pull in new industry. In fact, you could argue that the existence of a site makes the community less attractive to the kind of industry your community wants.
- Real life – the unemployment rate of a county that placed a landfill (Sumter County) went from 5.8% to 21.1%. That’s a 264% in unemployment. The same landfill generated $35 million in taxes for the STATE of Alabama! For the county? Less than $1.5 million.
- Every time [two trash company’s name omitted] takes over a system or builds a new dump – public employees LOSE jobs.
- Property Values DECREASE by 5.5% to 7/3% of market value depending on the distances from the dump.
- Trash Company, “Governmental regulations are forcing us to create this facility.”
Truth – “NO government mandates put a gun to anyone’s head and says; “Build a new waste site or else!” In short, not state or local government is obliged to build new waste sites. Nor are states obliged to join in any sort of multistate dealings.
Information for this post was provided mostly/in part by CHEJ.