Saturday, December 23, 2006

DEPleted Intelligence

The DEP strikes again. As today's NY Post reports one Bronx widow "is getting the royal flush" from "bumbling city bureaucrats"who have soaked her with A $22,000 bill, an amount she supposedly rang up in only 18 months of service.

What this outrage continues to demonstrate is that this particular city agency lacks any basic fiscal wherewithal. It raises questions about whether the city should put the entire organization into some form of municipal receivership. Certainly with over 21,000 customers more than two years behind in their bills, and with the agency unable to defend its charges, something needs to be done. As the widow Vitto says, "It's just a nightmare...All I want is a fair shake."

Which is precisely what the city's restaurants, green grocers and supermarkets have been saying for the past three years as their efforts to get permission to install commercial food waste disposers has met with resistance from DEP bureaucrats. According to the agency the installation of some 20,000 disposers would force the DEP into retrofitting the waste water infrastructure-at a cost that they estimate to be around $2 billion!

Can we get a second opinion here? Are we to take this estimate at face value? What are we to make of the DEP commissioner's statements that her experts can better evaluate the costs of such a program than an actual real world pilot study? It's time for the city council to intervene and get Intro 133 in place so that the evidence of its environmental and economic efficacy can be demonstrated.