"An Act authorizing the establishment of regional solid waste management authorities. "
"While the compelling reasons to develop this authority are focused around the Southeast Region this bill applies to any municipality or group of governing bodies in Alaska."
- Rep. Wilson
HB 392 will allow a community or group of communities to create a public corporation to deal with waste management. HB 392 is modeled after the port authority statutes and will authorize the formation of solid waste authorities for waste management.
Over the last decade in Southeast Alaska landfills, waste-to-energy plants and incinerators have closed. The cheapest and quickest alternative for any one community has been to ship municipal solid waste (MSW) by barge and rail to super landfills in the continental U.S. Lack of available and suitable land near existing communities and high costs to develop a landfill have prevented any one community from taking on this task itself. HB 392 would allow a group of communities to come together and form an authority for waste management. Working together they will be able to accomplish what one community working alone is unable to do.
Recycling and municipal waste collection is expensive with southeast communities paying between $77/ton and $220/ton to ship recyclables to markets and MSW to landfills, while the cost per ton for disposal in Anchorage is only $40/ton. Presently, communities in Southeast Alaska, excluding Juneau, are shipping 23,000 tons of municipal waste out of state each year. Other Southeast communities have landfills nearing capacity, while many small communities have improper or un-permitted dumps.
Communities cooperating as a single entity can produce a regional solution to deal with the MSW. The authority's regional facility could include a Materials Recovery Facility (recycling) on the front end and a state-of-the-art landfill. Other options may include thermal reduction (waste to energy), space for composting, and space for treating oily soils.
While the compelling reasons to develop this authority are focused around the Southeast Region this bill applies to any municipality or group of governing bodies in Alaska.
The Community and Regional Affairs Committee passed a committee substitute for HB 392. The Committee substitute added language that would allow a municipality to withdraw from an authority without dissolving the authority. However, any contributions from the departing municipality would remain with the authority and the municipality would remain liable for existing obligations that are not otherwise changed.
The Labor and Commerce Committee passed a committee substitute with language that clarified that the ability to withdraw from an authority without dissolving the authority only applies to solid waste management authorities.