Politicians from the Portland area, presently infesting the state legislature in Salem, are coming up with more ways to ensure the continued "greenness" of the Portland metropolitan area. A couple of purported Republicans, Sens. Bruce Starr and Alan Olsen, are looking into ways to mitigate the effects of "free-market composting" on the heels of the uproar over Portland and Metro's ill-advised move to cut garbage pickup in half while mandating that meat, bone, fats, and other kitchen waste be dumped into homeowners' yard-debris bins, trucked to tiny North Plains, Oregon, and "composted". The inevitable stink was exacerbated when the Portland/Metro combined brain-trust decided to mandate that commercial food waste be trucked out there as well.
The resulting stench not only enveloped the tiny town, but caused drivers passing through on nearby highway 26 to retch as well. As a result, Oregon DEQ got involved, and Washington County imposed caps on the amounts of goop the place could accept.
As any backyard composter knows all too well, plant matter composts with no offensive odors, but adding animal fats, bone, and meat into the mix yields not only horrific odors, but attracts vermin as well. Thus, residents of North Plains were enveloped in stench, while everything from rats to seagulls were attracted to the site.
It became apparent that the oh-so-green City of Portland wasn't going to be able to continue offloading their garbage onto the residents of the tiny town, and so the brain-trust, rather than simply acknowledging the fact that their grand experiment was a failure, pressed on. Their "solution" involves trucking all of the commercial garbage up north to a site near Camano Island, Washington - about half-way between the cities of Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. - for a round-trip distance of about 460 miles per truck. Obviously, given the environmental costs, the Portland and Metro governments will find it difficult to burnish their "sustainability" credentials by pursuing such a strategy over the long-term, so Portland-area politicians are desperately casting about for alternatives. The problem is that, given the North Plains experience, people in the near-by surrounding areas aren't going to buy into accepting Portland's waste.
One potential solution involves construction of a proposed "Columbia Biogas" facility in north Portland, which is an area that's more or less famous as the dumping ground for failed Portland "green" initiatives; the predecessor facility near the proposed biogas site generated a large number of complaints, and closed less than a year after its hailed opening. At least the local politicians got some face-time in front of the cameras during the opening, though they were strangely absent during the closing.
The biogas facility is proposed to be a closed system, with odor remediation - much the same as north Portland residents heard about the previous facility in terms of odor control - but this one would generate gas to be burned, producing electricity. Whether or not it happens remains to be seen.
But Portland politicians are by no means done; Democrat Sen. Jackie Dingbatter Dingfelder wants to follow the lead of bankrupt California through implementation of strict new energy efficiency requirements for televisions, battery chargers, light bulbs, and plumbing fixtures (apparently, double-flushing isn't sufficient, so she wants to move us to a triple-flushing system). This measure would help to reduce electricity use, and water use as well. Somebody, somewhere, must make a toilet that needs only one gallon, rather than the current 1.6 mandate, of water to flush. So what if it takes three flushes instead of one? It's "green", dammit!