LETTERS

Can you believe the hype?

Posted 3/25/21

To the Editor: Kent County is poised to become the next Flint, MI. Michigan public officials had the laudable goal of saving some tax dollars, but it devolved into a public-works tragedy because, it was determined - after irreversible damage to human

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LETTERS

Can you believe the hype?

Posted

To the Editor:

Kent County is poised to become the next Flint, MI. Michigan public officials had the laudable goal of saving some tax dollars, but it devolved into a public-works tragedy because, it was determined – after irreversible damage to human health had been done – to be caused not by malice, but by faulty assumptions, bad science, and a failure to perform due diligence.

In Flint, when local officials and policymakers switched to a new (what turned out to be corrosive) water supply – and subsequently failed to correctly treat it – we all witnessed the creation of a perfect storm that caused lead to leach from the pipes and into folks’ homes, launching a massive water crisis which tripled the levels of lead in Flint’s children’s blood. Residents suffered devastating, life-long consequences despite initial claims that: It’s temporary! We looked at the science! It’s safe!

Now, here in Rhode Island, MedRecycler is trying to serenade us with green-washed claims and earnest statements that they will be “a good and safe neighbor.” Smack dab in the middle of our state, they hope to pyrolyze medical waste that will be trucked in from all over New England and New York.

All they have are earnest statements because the science isn’t there to back up their claims. Peer-reviewed studies on pyrolyzing medical waste do not exist. There are coincidental, adjacent studies, and those point to the release of elevated levels of environmentally persistent, highly toxic contaminants.

This is a superfund site in the making.

Much of their promotional materials tout feel-good claims of “renewable energy,” but as of this writing, their FAQ admits that any energy generated by the process will be consumed by the plant. Exaggerated claims of tax revenue have also been dangled before municipalities. Don’t believe the hype.

The only beneficiaries might be Sun Pacific’s shareholders, and I say might because SEC Form 10-K reports the following of MedRecyler’s parent company: “Currently, the Company has been and is insolvent.” [...] “Since our inception, we have failed to create cash flows from revenues sufficient to cover basic costs ... Our independent registered public accounting firm has indicated in their report that these conditions raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of 12 months from the issuance date of this report [May 20, 2020].” (Pages 6 and 10, respectively.)

This company is asking Rhode Island to loan them $17.2 million dollars to create (their promotions assert) 30 long-term jobs while they simultaneously claim a deficit of $10.5 million, according to their 2019 annual report. Page 12 continues, “Given the Company’s insolvency, there is a high risk that the Company may be forced to file for bankruptcy if the Company is unable to meet its capital requirements in 2019.”

Like 38 Studios, this project has all the razzle-dazzle of hip jargon and sexy, so-called “cutting-edge tech,” but I fear it, too will end in bankruptcy, with the added affront of becoming a grotesque environmental injustice against Rhode Island. EcoRI reported they had to make an APRA request just to get a straight answer and “documents received from records requests reveal that Rhode Island Commerce takes ownership of the MedRecycler-RI facility and equipment if the bonds default.”

I don’t want Rhode Island’s residents to suffer devastating, life-long consequences because of faulty assumptions, bad science, and a failure to perform due diligence.

I urge all Rhode Islanders – including regulatory entities, elected officials and those whom they serve – to speak out before DEM’s public comment period ends on April 14. Don’t rely on slick sales pitches to inform your position. Research the issues and you will invariably reject this untested technology. But the window for you to make your desires known is fast drawing to a close. Don’t allow Little Rhody to become the dumping ground for New England’s and New York’s medical waste.

Nicole Armstrong

East Greenwich

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