Alert 673: Which Delaware leaders are promoting incinerator pollution?

Green Delaware Alert 673: Which Delaware leaders are promoting incinerator pollution?

Which are standing for a healthy future?

Public outcry needed to beat special interests….

Since year 2000, when Senate Bill 280 passed ( final, “engrossed” version here), Delaware has benefited from some of the strongest laws in the world against incineration.

We wrote this in Green Delaware News  #28, dated September 5, 2000:

Incinerator industry burned in Delaware

Senate Bill 280, passed April 6th,  makes it very difficult to build any more large incinerators anywhere in Delaware.  This bill was a follow-on to Senate Bill 88, banning incinerators in Delaware’s Coastal Zone.  It was the culmination of years of work against the Delaware Solid Waste Authority, Foster-Wheeler Corporation, Conectiv, Philpower, and Gov.  Tom Carper.  There are lots of lessons to be learned from this, and we will be writing about more of them.  Above all, for this writer, it showed that in Delaware, as influenced by special interests as we are, there is a democratic process that can, with determination, be made to work for the people.  Everyone in Delaware owes a debt of gratitude to the members of the General Assembly for rising to the occasion and passing SB 280.  (Senator Dave McBride, the Senate force behind the bill, probably did not get the recognition he deserves.)

Since 2000, much new information has emerged both on the harmful effects of air pollution and the foolishness of  burning up resources.  But that doesn’t stop special interests from trying to weaken or evade the law.  Incinerators would belch out large amounts of health-damaging pollutants.  For background information see:

Alert 671: Delaware environmental laws under attack by”Clean Air Council”

and

Alert 672:“The real culprit is combustion itself”

The latest threat comes from two sources:

(1)     Garbage incineration is again being promoted, perversely in the name of “Zero Waste.”  Key offenders here seem to be usual suspects: the Delaware (“Dirty”) Solid Waste Authority and “Clean Air Council.”  We understand the Dirty Authority is making a presentation to a joint meeting of the Delaware House of Representatives Energy (chaired by Rep. John Kowalko) and Natural Resources (chaired by Rep. Mike Mulrooney) committees at 4:00 on Wed., Jan 20, 2010.  We suspect the Markell administration is conniving with the supporters of this long-discredited idea.  Green Delaware is a long-time advocate of Zero Waste.  Incineration is the opposite of Zero Waste.  We will be asking for the opportunity to give our own presentation in response.

(2)     The most immediate threat comes from promoters of a “biomass” incinerator at the BASF (ex Ciby-Geigy, ex DuPont) plant in Newport, Delaware.

Solid rumors suggest that staff of DNREC and the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) are conniving with BASF and the burner contractor, Intrinergy, to peddle this scheme.

They are trying to get legislators on board.

Reportedly, the office of Attorney General Beau Biden–generally thought to be planning a campaign for the US Senate–has emitted a memo saying Delaware’s anti-incineration laws don’t apply to the proposed “biomass” burner.

The Attorney General’s office refused to give us any information, claiming “attorney-client” privilege.  The argument would probably be that the stuff to be burned would be a “fuel” not a “waste.”  This is a bogus argument.  Here’s the definition of “solid waste” in the incinerator law:

“(23) “Solid waste” means any garbage, refuse, refuse-derived fuel, demolition and construction waste wood, sludge from a waste treatment plant, water supply treatment plant or air pollution control facility and other discarded material, including solid, liquid, semisolid or contained gaseous material resulting from industrial, commercial, mining and agricultural operations, and from community activities, ….”

The danger here is that such a ruling would lead to DNREC issuing permits.  DNREC almost never denies permits.  People would be denied any voice other than a token “public hearing.”

o       The original anti-incinerator bill passed only because public outcry overcame dirty special interests.

o       Public outcry will count again in the same way.

Is Beau Biden betraying the people who elected him by supporting incinerator pollution?

Ask him: Attorney.General@State.DE.US , 302.577.8400

Governor Markell opposed incineration when he ran for office.  (Markell’s campaign materials have been removed from the Markell.org site.) But it seems increasingly questionable that he solicited the support of environmentalists in good faith, as his administration seems strongly aligned with developer-polluter interests. One response we saw from the Governor’s office simply pointed the finger at the General Assembly.

Is Jack Markell betraying the people who elected him by supporting incinerator pollution?

Ask him: jack.markell@state.de.us, 1.800.292.9570

So there is an urgent need for clarifying legislation to make totally clear that “biomass” burners are incinerators under Delaware law.

Please encourage Delaware Senators and Representatives to support such legislation: Contact information .

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