A 'yes' on Measure E
A new waste-to-energy facility would keep the city from trucking its yard trimmings and food waste to San Jose and Gilroy, thereby reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
The new facility would generate electricity, boosting the city's renewable-energy portfolio.
The city would not be obligated to build the waste-to-energy facility at the park site, though it would have the option of doing so if the facility were to prove economically and environmentally feasible, based on required environmental studies.
The plant might be cheaper than the cost of hauling waste to San Jose and Gilroy -- provided the facility is built by a private entity or the city builds it but receives grants.
A plant could allow the city to centralize three waste streams -- yard trimmings, food waste and sewage sludge -- in one location, producing operational efficiencies.
A 'no' on Measure E
Defeating Measure E would preserve the 10-acre site as dedicated parkland and reduce the footprint of waste facilities at Byxbee Park.
The technology of the proposed waste-to-energy facility has not been decided upon and -- if using dry anaerobic digestion to process food scraps, yard trimmings and biosolids -- remains largely untested.
Palo Alto already pays to have its solid waste shipped to the Sunnyvale Materials Recovery and Transfer (SMaRT) Station, which sorts it and forwards unsalvageable materials to landfills.
Proponents' best economic projections assume the project will either be privately owned or city-owned and receiving state and/or federal grants, which may not happen.
While the city's consultants found that a dry anaerobic digester could be a cheaper option than exporting waste if certain conditions are met, they also found that all other alternatives for the facility could be more expensive than using the SMaRT Station.