I see a perfect storm of opportunity. Large-scale changes in environmental policy regarding carbon-dioxide emissions have scuttled assets for burning coal products for electric generation in the U.S. These assets are still useable. Residential garbage landfill activity is enormous, and the public seems oblivious regarding the environmental impact not yet fully realized.

The Minnesota legislative body is seemingly oblivious as well; no action has taken place to improve the financial environment to incinerate these materials so that it is cost effective for industry to do so. Yet in comparison, there is lots of incentive from our governmental body to produce wind and solar electric generation through rebates or kickbacks to the industries that invest in that type of generation. In the end, however, it is you and I who provide the money for our governmental body to do so through taxation.

Sadly, Great River Energy’s Elk River Station just went idle, mostly because the plant was not able to receive enough waste garbage to burn at full load to be cost effective. What a loss to the environment, in my opinion. The reduction in volume of these waste materials and reduction of hazards through incineration is astounding. What a loss to employees working in that plant. What a loss to the city of Elk River’s tax base. What a loss to the environment.

Because of the efforts to reduce carbon-fuel, coal-fired, base-load generation, there is an opportunity to perhaps make good use of these scuttled facilities. They could be converted to garbage-burning facilities. I boldly make this statement full well knowing that industries will not buy into that effort without the proper financial incentive to do so. I know that it is the current political environment that hinders that effort.

Roy R. Maki Jr.