Opponents of the flow control provision included in House Bill 56: Amend Environmental Laws would love to hide the fact that flow control creates a hidden tax, hinders competition and gives local governments an unfair advantage when competing with the private sector. While detractors continue to peddle mistruths about flow control, I wanted to break down the facts.
Fact: Local governments will be able to meet their financial obligations without flow control restrictions. House Bill 56 was carefully crafted to protect local governments, exempting those with bonds until they are paid. The legislation also gives local governments an adequate amount of time to transition and explore private solutions to provide the lowest possible cost of service.
Fact: North Carolinians will have access to affordable and environmentally sound disposal options without facilities operated by local governments. 60% of North Carolina’s solid waste is already disposed of safely and economically through eight privately-owned regional facilities. Private facilities are heavily regulated to protect the environment and the competition generated among the facilities drives costs down – to think otherwise is nonsense.
Fact: Costs will not increase with fewer local facilities. It has long been North Carolina’s policy to reduce the number of small, inefficient local landfills and have private industry increase investment into larger facilities that are safer and more economically viable. Private sector competition keeps costs low.
Fact: Flow control hinders competition. Flow control restrictions create a hidden tax through tipping fees which makes waste disposal more expensive for residents and businesses. Without these restrictions, government facilities would be forced to compete with private facilities, which offer more efficient services at a lower cost. Waste disposal costs are often considered when businesses evaluate where to invest in new or expanded operations and flow control restrictions could serve as a serious deterrent.
Fact: Flow control does not make local facilities any safer than private facilities. Private landfills and waste collection is heavily regulated by state and federal agencies to ensure the public health and environment are protected. With rigorous enforcement of those regulations, to risk violations would be cataclysmic for a private facility. Flow control merely allows a local facility to restrict a resident or business’ disposal options, creating a monopoly for local governments.
Be it through taxes or fees for service, waste disposal is a necessary cost that affects every North Carolina business’ bottom line. Unfortunately, flow control restrictions are driving costs higher and fostering an unfair marketplace, insulating local governments from competition. House Bill 56 would initiate the orderly phase out of local government control over solid waste management. We are collecting signatures for these letters to state House and Senate leadership, urging a veto override of House Bill 56. If you would like to sign onto these letters, please email Jason Soper, director of governmental affairs, indicating how you’d like the name of your business to appear. Thank you in advance for lending your voice to this important issue and joining the aligned business community in fighting for our state’s competitive future.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber