AB 222 (Adams, 2009-10) Bio-Refineries / Conversion Technologies

AB 222 (Adams) was amended on July 15th to no longer give diversion and RPS credit to waste-to-energy. technologies. Previous version of the bill would have allowed controversial and environmentally-unproven waste-to-energy technologies to count as “recycling” under the state’s landmark recycling law (even though they destroy resources) and to count as “renewable” under the state’s renewable energy law (even though they generate electricity from fossil sources and recyclable materials). The bill would have also eliminate existing environmental protections in statute that prohibit a solid waste conversion facility from emitting air and water pollution.

Position and Status.
CAW is neutral on the bill as amended on 7/15/10, but had been strongly opposed to previous versions of the bill. This bill died with the close of the legislative session. AB 222 passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee and was awaiting a hearing on the Senate floor. It previously passed the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee, as well as the Assembly Policy and Fiscal Committees.

So called "conversion technology" facilities do not recycle in the traditional sense. Unlike a glass recycler, for instance, which takes post consumer collected glass bottles and recycles them back into bottles; most CT facilities are designed to turn materials into fuels which by their nature can only be used once and then the resource is destroyed.

Despite the lack of experience with these technologies, previous versions of this bill would have allowed these "black box" technologies to be classified as recycling and therefore count toward diversion under AB 939. It would have also eliminate environmental safeguards requiring these facilities to have no emissions.

CAW strongly believes there is no basis for counting these technologies as recycling at this time. Diversion credit is the ultimate incentive, providing a virtual state mandate for these facilities.

AB 222 would have allowed electricity generated from readily recyclable wastes to count as renewable energy towards the state’s renewable energy law. This would have undercut the planned greenhouse gas reductions from the state’s renewable energy efforts and significantly harmed the development of true renewables, like solar and wind.

CAW Staff Contacts.
Scott Smithline (916) 443-5422

Support. (From Senate Floor Analysis, 8/4/10)

BioEnergy Producers Association (source)
adaptiveARC, Inc.
Biomass Coordinating Council
California Farm Bureau Federation
California State Association of Counties
Cities of Bell, Glendale, Hawthorne, Pico Rivera and Vernon
Clean Cities Coalition
Clements Environmental
Fulcrum BioEnergy,Inc.
Global Energy, Inc.
ICM, Inc.
International Union of Operating Engineers
Interstate Waste Technologies
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
Los Angeles County Solid Waste Management Committee
Long Beach Coalition for a Safe Environment
Marin Sanitary Service
Miller De Wulf Corporation
North Valley Coalition
New Planet Energy, LLC
Orange County Board of Supervisors
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Phoenix Biomass Energy, Inc.
Redwood City Planning
Remediation Earth, Inc.
Republic Services, Inc.
San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors
San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management  
Sempra Energy
Solid Waste Association of North America
Southern California Edison
Sustainable conservation
Ternion Bio Industries
ThermoChem Recovery International, Inc.
Theroux Environmental
Waste To Energy, LLC
Yolo County Board of Supervisors

Opposition. (From Senate Floor Analysis, 8/4/10)

Alameda County Waste Management Authority and Recycling  
Breathe California
California Chamber of Commerce (unless amended)
California League of Conservation Voters Council
California Resource Recovery Association
Center for Biological Diversity
Clean Water Action
Coalition for Clean Air
Environment California
Environmental Defense Fund
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance
Natural Resources Defense Council
Planning and Conservation League
Sierra Club California
Solid Waste Association (unless amended)

Current Language, Analyses and Votes.