California, once a leader in waste-to-energy technology, falls behind rest of world

By Noaki Schwartz, AP
Sunday, September 5, 2010

California falls behind in waste-to-energy race

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Los Angeles County officials are looking to spend $200 million to build three so-called biorefineries as California attempts to catch up with Japan and other countries in turning trash into energy.

Fears that newer trash-to-energy technologies would undermine traditional recycling or create air pollution have stalled efforts to build new plants in California, once considered one of the greenest places in the world.

Proponents of the new technology are trying to convince critics as space for trash shrinks.

L.A. County officials are seeking alternatives to closing the world’s largest landfill and shipping trash by rail to an abandoned goldmine near Mexico.

The proposed demonstration plants would either use heat to turn trash to energy or use microorganisms that eat organic material and create methane to produce power.

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