Alert 685: “In Congress July 4th 1776 … “

Its been a Green Delaware custom to suggest that a good way to celebrate the 4th of July is to READ the Declaration of Independence.

In recent weeks there’s been much blather about whether US "counterinsurgency" (COIN) can succeed in Afghanistan.  So it may be worth noting that counterinsurgency is what the British royal government carried out in North America between 1776 and the Treaty of Paris (1783).

Article 1:

His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, [Delaware], Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states, that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.

After the publication of the Declaration, Benjamin Franklin is supposed to have said something like "We had better hang together, or we will surely hang separately."  Had the British COIN succeeded, it is likely that the Fourth of July would be celebrated quite differently, if at all.

Also worth reading (thanks to Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center, Philadelphia, PA USA):

Women’s Declaration at Seneca Falls, July 4, 1848
The Declaration of Sentiments,
Seneca Falls Conference, 1848

"What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"
Frederick Douglass, 5 July 1852

A New Declaration of Independence (1909)
Emma Goldman

July 4, 2010: Declaring Independence from Big Oil, Big Coal, & other Domineering Corporations
By Rabbi Arthur Waskow | 5/25/2010

Air Quality

Thursday and Friday were Code Green days in Delaware. Saturday is (high) Code Yellow.

Extended Forecast:

A period of poor air quality begins on Sunday as temperatures rise still further to the
mid-upper 90’s F. Under clear skies, ozone will reach the Code Orange range Sunday and
likely again on Monday and Tuesday. PM concentrations will begin to rise along with
humidity on Sunday and may reach the Code Orange range by Tuesday.

Also note that fireworks, beautiful as they are, cause serious air pollution containing heavy metals and dioxins.

General Assembly

The last day of the 145th Delaware General Assembly was Wednesday, June 30th, 2010.  Excluding possible special sessions, the Delaware legislature is now in recess until January, 2011, when the 146th General Assembly will convene.

A notable event is the retirement of Representative William A. Oberle, who has served in the General Assembly since 1976.  Oberle represents the sadly-diminished "progressive" wing of the Delaware republicans and has a history of supporting health and environmental concerns.  He will be missed.

A positive event was the passage of Senate Bill 311, making clear that Delaware’s anti-incineration laws apply to wood burners:

Senate Bill 311 passed the Senate on June 23rd, 20 "yes" 0 "no" 1 "not voting."  It passed the House on June 29, 36 "yes," 1 "no."  Hopefully Governor Jack Markell will sign it soon.

Section 1. Amend �6002(10), Chapter 60, Title 7 of the Delaware Code, relating to the definition of �Incinerator,� by adding after the words �for the combustion (oxidation) of solid waste� the following:

�or wood obtained for incineration in an industrial incinerator�.


This Act is intended to close a potential loophole in Title 7, which could allow industrial incinerators capable of incinerating solid waste to operate near residential areas by burning wood.  Author: Senator Peterson

The underlying law –since 2000–says:

No permit may be granted to any incinerator unless:

a. The property on which the incinerator is or would be located is within an area which is zoned for heavy industrial activity and shall be subject to such process rules, regulations or ordinances as the county, municipality or other government entity shall require by law, such as a conditional use, so that conditions may be applied regarding the health, safety and welfare of the citizens within the jurisdiction; and
b. Every point on the property boundary line of the property on which the incinerator is or would be located is:
1. At least 3 miles from every point on the property boundary line of any residence;
2. At least 3 miles from every point on the property boundary line of any residential community; and
3. At least 3 miles from every point on the property boundary line of any church, school, park, or hospital.

This was not as broad a bill as we wanted–we were after all "biomass," not just "wood"–but the high level of support for SB 311 suggests that legislators are seeing that the real opportunities lie in efficiency, better resource management ("zero waste") and, on the supply side, in wind, solar, and other truly clean technologies.  Smokestacks, garbage incineration, and the cremation of forests have no legitimate place in a sane future.

Green Delaware thanked legislators, including bill author Senator Karen Peterson, Senate co-sponsors David Sokola, Dorinda Connor, and Patti Blevins, House Speaker and sponsor Bob Gilligan, Rep. John Kowalko, and others.

The immediate impetus for SB 311 was an already-withdrawn wood burner scheme in Newport Delaware by the big German chemical outfit BASF.  People didn’t want to go through something like this again. The Newport burner scheme was promoted by "Clean Air Council," an "environmental" NGO in Philadelphia with a long history of promoting incineration in Delaware.    Lots of background here, such as this.

So, Delaware continues to have perhaps the strongest laws in the US protecting residents from health-damaging incinerator pollution.  This is something to celebrate.

Alan Muller

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