Friday, May 30, 2008

Turning Trash (and travel) Into Energy

The City of Los Angeles wants to one-up the entrepreneurial cities and companies that are turning used restaurant grease into biofuels. L.A. is looking into technology that will convert garbage into energy.

Just a few years ago, this would have sounded like something straight out of "The Jetsons," but L.A. City Councilman Greig Smith swears it can be done and, to prove it he's taking a long, expensive, taxpayer-funded vacation to Europe to "observe" trash-to-energy technology.

David Zanhiser reports in the Los Angeles Times that the boondoggle will cost a cool quarter of a million bucks.

While the return on investment is probably acceptable if the stuff actually works and City develops a cheap, new energy source in the future, the problem is that the City is broke right now. Really broke.

The L.A. Bureau of Sanitation reports that the trip will be financed by trash fees collected at a local landfill. What they conveniently leave out is that the L.A. just hiked trash fees on residents by a whopping 30%.

That sound you hear is former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez exhaling in relief that there is now an elected official more brazen than he.