The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

Fairfax County Reneges on Covanta

The Covanta plant, behind an abandoned dairy farm—Just because.

After a long and protracted argument over whether or not the Fairfax County government would spend $400 million dollars to "nationalize" the Lorton power generation plant (pictured by the iconic smokestack above), it was decided less than a month ago that the money would most likely be wasted, and that the county would be better served by allowing the private company that built the plant to continue operating it.

Alas, the Washington Post informs us tonight that the Democrats on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors are having second thoughts about the deal, and the County will be going back on that freshly-minted agreement:

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors emerged from a closed session Tuesday afternoon with a stunner: Covanta Energy, the company that has operated the Lorton waste-to-energy plant with the county for two decades, has reneged on a handshake deal to extend its operating lease on the $418 million plant, the supervisors said.

The company late Tuesday denied breaking any deal and accused the county of halting talks.

In any event, the impasse threatened to put the county back where it began months ago, when county officials disclosed that they were considering renewal of the public-private operating agreement or buying the plant outright.


“Covanta disagrees with the County’s view that we are no longer willing to stand behind the agreed-upon term sheet. Nothing has changed,” Covanta spokesman James F. Regan said. “We fully intend to live up to the term sheet, which was agreed to by the board of supervisors.” Regan said the company was eager to continue negotiations, but that the county had stopped the process.

I've put out messages to Pat Herrity and John Cook, the two lone voices of reason on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, trying to find out what exactly caused this abrupt about-face. I'll report back here if they respond.

In the meantime, let this be a lesson to anyone that thinks it's possible to do honest business with Democrats. 

Like the ancient scorpion, they are who they are—Trusted at your own certain peril. Please, Fairfax, it's about time that we get some adult supervision on the Board of Supervisors.

Elect Spike Williams at your earliest convenience.

 Tags: FAIRFAX LIES #YeOldeDominion


#1 Anonymous 26-Apr-2011

John Cook made the motion to abandon the negotiation. The vote was unanimous.

#2 Brian C. Ledbetter 27-Apr-2011

Not that I doubt what you're saying, Anon, but do you have a source for that? I'm not finding it on the County website yet...

#3 Brian C. Ledbetter 27-Apr-2011

(I only ask because John Cook was vocally opposed to the Covanta purchase, as was Pat Herrity.)

I did notice that I forgot all about Supervisor Frey, the third voice of reason on the BOS. My apologies for the oversight!

#4 Anonymous 28-Apr-2011

First, why is EVERYTHING Democrats vs. Republicans?? It's not. So tired of people like you who are so simpleminded. The company backed out of the deal. From Cook's Facebook page:


The Cook Advisory

A timely update from Braddock District Supervisor John C. Cook

April 27, 2011


Covanta Backs out of Incinerator Deal

A little over a month ago, Fairfax County reached an agreement in principle with Covanta regarding the incinerator in Lorton that burns most of the trash produced in Fairfax County. I even praised my colleagues on the Board for making the right decision when we opted not to purchase the Covanta incinerator, and instead agreed to a new long-term lease. However, during a closed session discussion with our outside counsel during yesterday's Board meeting, we learned that Covanta has reneged on the deal and is trying to negotiate a new one. 


In response to that action, I made the following motion, which the Board adopted by unanimous vote :

On March 29, 2011, this Board accepted the terms of a Service Agreement extension with 

Covanta pursuant to Covanta's February 9, 2011, Term Sheet, and two letters from Covanta to the County dated March 25, and March 28, 2011. Covanta has now advised the County that it is no longer willing to implement this agreement, and instead now wishes to renegotiate the deal. Fairfax County does not do business this way. We had a deal and Covanta broke it. This is unacceptable.


In light of the foregoing, I move that staff be directed to stop work on the extension amendment, and further that staff be directed to explore all options, including legal and legislative options, for addressing the disposal of waste generated in the County. 


A deal is a deal and we cannot accept such negotiating techniques.  Over the coming months the Board will review various options with staff.  The current service agreement with Covanta runs until 2016, so there will be no immediate change in your trash service coming from the event.

#5 Anonymous 28-Apr-2011

and your headline is VERY inaccurate. The county did not renege on the deal. Get some facts before publishing what you think you heard from a second-hand source or through the GOP prism glasses. Facts are facts whether you like them or not.

#6 Brian C. Ledbetter 28-Apr-2011

Hey, if I'm wrong, I'm wrong—No trouble admitting it. I stand corrected on placing the blame solely on the Board's democratic members.

For what it's worth, I am subscribed to the Cook Advisory, and have not received that message. I am not subscribed to his Facebook feed, so I missed it there. Add to that the fact that I detest conducting County business in private session for just about any reason, and I'm sure you'll understand where I was coming from with my headline.

It would be nice if the Board would present factual information, rather than just saying "We went into closed session, and because of a bunch of things we can't tell you about, we decided X and Y." It's abominable to conduct business like this in the shadows, if you ask me.

I do look forward to hearing further updates on this issue, given that I'm a taxpayer that'll be affected by it.

Powered by Snarf · Contact Us