“U.S. taxpayers help fund oil-train boom amid safety concerns”

http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/u-s-taxpayers-help-fund-oil-train-boom-amid-safety/article_cd09f5c9-9c34-505b-a5dc-3abca7d069ce.html

As a follow up to the bridge story, see this piece from Reuters.  For the most part, of course, the oil train traffic in Delaware results from the reopening of the Delaware City Refinery.  (There might be some through traffic regardless.)  Norfolk Southern, major rail presence in Delaware, sued the State of Maryland to prevent release of oil train information.  Delaware, in any case, is one of a few states refusing to provide information to the public.

Can anyone think that, when the refinery-reopening scam went down with zero public participation, the full range of harmful effects were considered?  Obviously not….

“Railroad bridge conditions hidden from public view”

Images:  Railroad bridges along the Mississippi River

http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/railroad-bridge-conditions-hidden-from-public-view/article_23e95758-fbbd-58ae-af31-619a3d4b4518.html

An important story on rail bridges was published on December 14th in the LaCross [WI] Tribune.  Byline:  Chris Hubbuch.   We understand this story was instigated by Guy Wolf, Alan Stankevitz, Irv Balto, and other leaders of Citizens Acting for Rail Safety (CARS).   CARS gave extensive briefings to Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin and other public officials, and provided much of the information and many of the images used in the story. Continue reading

Delaware Audubon Annual Meeting–Dec 6th; huge nuclear reactor threat–who will lead the opposition?

Delaware Audubon Annual Meeting–Dec 6th

On Saturday, Dec 6th, the Delaware Audubon Society is having its annual meeting.  Details here.  Public invited.  Our experience is that there is likely to be good (actually, outstanding!) food and good company at this event.  Sin City Band will be playing.

Audubon is honoring Pat Todd of the League of Women Voters of Delaware with its Annual Conservation Award.  (List of prior recipients here.)  Probably Green Delaware disagrees with the League as often as we agree with it, but Pat has been involved in environmental issues in Delaware for a lot of years and is well-deserving of recognition for this.

Recommended.

Elected Officials Reception (already happened but worthy of note)

On December 1, 2014, the Delaware Coalition for Open Government held an Elected Officials Reception.  This event has been spearheaded for many years for John Flaherty.  It used to be under the sponsorship of Common Cause of Delaware before that organization collapsed and Flaherty parted company with it.   The point is that fat-cat special interests constantly hold “receptions” for pols; this is supposed to be one for *people* to interact with legislators.  (Green Delaware is not a member of DelCOG.)

Nuke Nuttiness–new reactors threaten

How many people are aware of a scam to build two new nuclear reactors on Artificial Island, next to the three existing reactors (Salem I and II, and Hope Creek I)?  This is a scam that’s been cooking for years.  It makes no sense from a public interest point of view, but such a scam could pull tens of billions of dollars out of the pockets of taxpayers and utility ratepayers.   So it has enormous appeal to politicians, bankers, construction unions, bond salespeople, and so on.  Various licensing proceedings have been cooking in the background.  The idea here is that the paperwork is to be put in place before people wake up to the threat.  Thus, today, Saturday, December 6, 2014, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (it would be better called the Nuclear Industry Service Commission) is closing out public comment on a stage of the “environmental review” process for new reactors.  Of course, they say all would be well with new reactors.  Not a few people have been fooled into thinking that new nuke reactors are needed as a “low carbon” energy source to combat climate change.

Note that the PSEG, operators of the existing three reactors, has never been willing to clean them up so as to stop vacuuming the fish out of the Delaware River/Estuary.  New reactors, even with cooling towers, would add greatly to the fish holocaust.

Longtime anti-nuclear activist Frieda Berryhill passed away in 2012.  The Unplug Salem organization has a petition but is less active than in prior years.

A few links to relevant materials on the Green Delaware site:

Alert 650: Nutty nuclear schemes to be presented in Legislative Hall–April 9, 2009, 4:00 pm

“Your Government at Work” is something to behold ! –Frieda Berryhill

Frieda Berryhill’s comment on Obama’s nuke power giveaways

Passing of Frieda Berryhill

http://www.greendel.org/2011/06/23/potential-for-nuke-disaster-hangs-over-us-all/

http://www.greendel.org/2010/06/15/update-psegs-new-nuke-yes-they-are-insane/

The News Journal has had some coverage, including:

http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2014/12/04/nrc-closing-public-comment-new-pseg-reactor-site/19916621/

http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2014/08/04/pseg-studies-new-nuclear-reactors/13608807/

http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2014/10/14/delaware-hearings-added-nj-nuke-expansion-plan/17268441/

http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2014/10/23/public-comments-possible-new-nuclear-reactor/17784377/

 Who will lead the charge against this horrible threat?

The EPA “Clean Power Plan”–1.2 million public comments so far

Failure is not an option

On June 2, 2014, the US Environmental Protection Agency rolled out a “Clean Power Plan” proposal, the stated intent of which is to reduce carbon (equivalent) emissions from electricity generation by 30 percent (from a 2005 baseline) by 2030.  Such emissions have already dropped by about 15 percent from the 2005 levels.  Electricity generation is responsible for about 40 percent of total carbon (equivalent) emissions to the atmosphere.  So, taken at face value, the reductions if the proposal were implemented would be something like .3 times .4 equals 12 percent.  Given that one-half of the reductions have already occurred, the reductions due to the “Plan” would be something like six percent.  Still, even a small beginning could be significant in the gridlocked US political system. Continue reading

Big Stinkers (DiSabatino) appeal Peninsula Compost shutdown order

When DNREC issued a shutdown order for Peninsula Compost Group (otherwise known as Wilmington Organics Recycling Center, Peninsula Compost Company, etc.) on October 20th, our first question was “would they appeal?”  That question has been answered with the filing of an appeal to the Delaware “Environmental Appeals Board” on November 7, 2014

The lawyer filing the appeal is Robert W. Whetzel of Richards, Layton, Finger, 302.651.7634.  We have run into Whetzel many times representing the Delaware City Refinery and other bad polluters. Continue reading

Chicken waste plant Coastal Zone Permit–Green Delaware’s comments

In an earlier post we promised these comments last week.  Apologies for the delay.  The matter is complex for us because it involves not only the merits of the “Green Recovery Technologies” application itself, but the manner in which enforcement of the Coastal Zone Act has been largely rendered (notice pun) into a farce.

Our comments are in the record.  We concluded that

“Green Delaware does not oppose further processing of wastewater treatment sludge from poultry slaughtering operations. It is possible that such could be desirable.  But the GRT application has innumerable fatal defects. The DNREC should deny the requested CZA permit.” 

Continue reading

Time-critical action alerts: Stinker and a stinker

First, the old reliable stinker, alias Senator Tom Carper.

 The fate of the Keystone XL pipeline has become a fight of great substantive and symbolic significance to those concerned about climate change.  And, as we keep writing, Delaware is the lowest lying US state and mega-vulnerable to the effects of global warming–especially sea level rise.  Thus, Delaware pols should be leaders in the effort to limit climate change.  Obviously most are not.  Especially, Tom Carper isn’t. Continue reading