Toxic in a California Landfill = Safe in Your Texas Lungs

by jim on February 10, 2012

Via the NYT, we again revisit California’scrackdown on auto shredders and the toxic waste they generate that’s creating headaches for regulators. Auto shredders strip a vehicles of all of its non-steel, non-frame parts, send the frame off for scrap metal, and grind everything else into bits and pieces containing chemicals from Vinyl Chloride to Mercury to Lead to Asbestos to PCBs, depending on the age and model. It’s full of sharp metal, wires, and hard plastic, but for some reason, the industry nickname for this waste is a very cuddly “fluff.” When they cover this fluff with a “special coating” of cement-like material and bury it in landfills, it tends to leech out all of those toxic ingredients and cause problems. So why do you care? Because dear reader, what California thinks is too toxic to be landfilled, Texas is allowing into your lungs via TXI’s  Midlothian cement plant, where the TCEQ just gave a permit to burn this very same kind of auto “fluff.” It was part of TXI’s “Landfill in the Sky” permit that Downwinders tried to modify or deny, except that the state agreed with the company that there should be no public notice, comment, or hearing on the matter. TXI received the permit last summer, but has yet to build the infrastructure on-site to be able to process all the new wastes it wants to burn, including car fluff. We won’t know when they’re going to begin throwing this stuff into the kiln until after the fact. In Rick Perry’s Texas, that’s just the way it is.

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