Urgent incinerator action alert–Stop the tire/plastics incinerator in New Castle!

A very dubious organization, “Renew Oil,” is trying to build a tire/plastics incinerator at 78 MuCullough Drive in New Castle.  Keeping pollution-belching incinerators out of Delaware has long been a priority and new incinerators are essentially not legal in Delaware, because they are not allowed within three miles of the property boundary of any school, church, park, hospital, or residence.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is making a “status decision” as to whether the proposed tire/plastics incinerator is an incinerator.  Public comment is being taken but the DNREC is already planning to decide the incinerator is not an incinerator.

Public comment is urgently needed to turn this around:  Tell DNREC Secretary Collin Omara and Governor Jack Markell to

o       Extend the public comment period for 30 days at least; and

o       rule that the incinerator is an incinerator.

Please send comments to Collin.OMara@state.de.us , Michelle.Jacobs@state.de.us, jack.markell@state.de.us

Omara’s office phone:  302.739.9000

AND, to your state Senator and Representative.

Green Delaware’s extension request is below.  Feel free to copy from it.

All the documents we have received on the incinerator, and our analysis, is at greendelaware.org.  (but please excuse the problems with formatting.  We are getting the site fixed ASAP.

Thank you for acting.


Hon. Collin Omara, Secretary,
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

Dear Secretary Omara:

Green Delaware asks you to extend the public comment period on the Incinerator Ban Status Decision for the “Renew Oil” plastics/tire incinerator for at least 30 days from today, August 9, 2013.

Green Delaware’s mission is to inform and empower people and communities who might not otherwise be informed and empowered.

The proposed “Renew Oil” tire and plastic incinerator at 78 McCullough Drive in New Castle is within one-half mile of two schools (John G. Leach School and  Eisenberg Elementary School) and numerous communities including Jefferson Farms, Wilmington Manor, Swanwyck Gardens, Buttonwood, Castle Hills, Holloway Terrace, and Garfield Park.  Many of these communities have historically been subjected to pollution from dumps, incinerators, and other dirty industrial activities.  Many are lower-income and high “minority” population.  Thousands of people live in this area from which incinerators are excluded by Delaware law.

Obviously, you are aware that incinerators are not allowed within three miles of the property boundary of any school, church, park, hospital, or residence.  Hundreds if not thousands of such these are located within three miles of the proposed incinerator.

The application, although very unclear and inconsistent, indicates emissions of various toxic and carcinogenic substances in unknown quantities, including benzene–a known cause of cancer in humans, toluene, ethylbenzene–classified as a possible carcinogen, formaldehyde–another known human carcinogen, oxides of nitrogen, hydrogen sulfide, lead, cadmium–another cancer-causer, and mercury–a neurotoxin that dumbs down our children.

The DNREC has known about this project at least since January, but I see no indication that there has been an iota of community outreach.  And this in spite of DNREC having a “Community Involvement Advisory Council,” Environmental Justice policies, etc.  Indeed, this application is being managed our of an “Office of Community Services.”  I do not see any services to these communities in this matter.  I only see services to an out-of-town entrepreneur who shows little concern for anyone but himself.

The public notice was apparently published in the News Journal and the Delaware State News on July 28, 2013, with an ending date of August 9, 2013, giving an abnormally short time period for comment.  (The email notice date is July 21st, but it is not clear that the legal publication occurred at that time.)

This “status decision” matter is likely preliminary to an air permit proceeding.  But as a practical matter air permits are seldom denied.  I know of only one such denial in the past 20-some years.  So as a practical matter, this status decision is likely the decision point for whether this project may proceed, because an incinerator cannot legally be permitted at the proposed location, or perhaps at any location in Delaware.

I see that Mr. Shah, of Renew Oil, and Ms. DeHaven of the Delaware Economic Development Office, have pestered you relentlessly about this project, and old tires are a recognized problem, but that cannot justify ignoring the law or the interests of the residents of Delaware.

The school managers, the civic associations of the communities, the churches, the community centers, and so on, deserve to know about this project and have a meaningful opportunity to weigh in if they want to.  And it is August, when things tend to move more slowly, many orgs skip meetings, people are on vacation, and so on.

Green Delaware requests a 30 day extension from August 9th, as a bare minimum and would prefer 60.

Need I add that Green Delaware, after careful consideration of the record in this matter, on which we will elaborate further, considers that the Renew Oil proposal is for an incinerator within the meaning of Delaware law, and that is the only possible “status decision.”

Please contact me if this request raises any questions.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Muller

Alan Muller, Executive Director
Green Delaware
Box 69
Port Penn, DE 19731 USA

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