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Crucial Council Vote Tonight On Trash-To-Electricity Plan

http://66.225.205.104/JR20101213.mp3

A plan to turn Charlotte's trash into electricity is on tonight's city council agenda for a vote. WFAE's Julie Rose explains why it's a crucial vote: Technically, the city council is voting on whether or not to add the garbage-fueled power plant to Charlotte's list of options for how to dispose of waste. Recycling and sending it to the landfill are currently the only options. But innocuous as the decision sounds, it's actually the city council's one and only opportunity to block the waste-to-energy plant. "Whatever decision the council does render, it pretty much means we're going to move forward or we're not going to move forward," says Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon. The developers of the project known as ReVenture are not asking for any zoning changes or economic incentives, so the city council's input comes down to trash. The other municipalities in Mecklenburg County have already agreed to add ReVenture to their list of possible destinations for their garbage. Charlotte is the last holdout - and most important to the project since it produces the majority of the county's household waste. As the city council prepares to vote, the parameters of the project are still changing. Late last week, ReVenture's Tom McKittrick announced he'd abandoned plans to build part of the project on Statesville Avenue near I-85. That facility was supposed to be the place where ReVenture sorted trash and turned it into pellets that would be trucked across town to the new power plant in western Mecklenburg County. But McKittrick says they ran into delays because the Statesville site is a closed landfill that requires additional permits before building. "It is going to bog down the plan time-wise," says McKittrick. "So we elected to a site that wasn't encumbered." Now ReVenture plans to put the recycling portion of the project on an industrial site closer to Graham Street. Opponents of the project say the last-minute change hasn't given residents enough time to react and are calling for the city council to delay tonight's decision. ReVenture says it needs a decision quickly to get the necessary air quality and waste permits for the project before the county's landfill contract expires.