Wednesday, August 27, 2014, is a bad air day in Delaware

All sorts of bad air on Wednesday, Aug 26th:

Delaware Department of Ag violating law to protect chicken scam?

 New York City garbage going to Chester, PA, via Elsmere, DE?

More power lines to be hung up over the Delaware River?

Utility ripoffs in general and in particular….

The DNREC has announced an “air quality action day,” saying that ozone is forecast to be in the Code Orange range and particles are forecast to be in the Code Yellow range.

The official forecasting system does not consider the combined effect of multiple pollutants, but Green Delaware does, and we say this is a Code Red (unhealthy for everybody) day.

In addition, it will be hot and humid, and the “Pollen Allergy Forecast” is high, at 9.8 out of 12, and these levels are forecast to increase to “very high” levels on Thursday (although ozone and particles should decrease on Thursday).

The combined effects of these factors makes for seriously unhealthy conditions and we urge our readers to take care.

Other sorts of bad air are sadly present in Delaware:

Delaware Department of Ag violating law to protect chicken scam?

People fighting the proposed giant Korean chicken killing plant near Millsboro say the Delaware Department of Agriculture is dodging the Delaware Freedom of Information Act to avoid sharing its interactions with a scummy industrial lobby outfit called the Delmarva Poultry Industry.  We wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee about this and await his response.

New York City garbage coming to Elsmere, DE?

Since closing it’s giant Fresh Kills landfill, the City of New York has been spewing garbage all over the Eastern part of the US.  Now, the City is contracting to send 500,000 tons of garbage every year to the Covanta incinerator in Chester, Pennsylvania, one of the most notorious “environmental injustice” communities in the US.  In years past, Green Delaware has worked with Chester residents to stop the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (the “Dirty Authority”) from sending Delaware garbage to Chester.  Of course, New York City garbage doesn’t belong there either, and New York groups, along with Chester residents, are fighting the scheme.

The Delaware angle to this:  The proposal is that about 1200 containers of garbage per month (about 40 per day) would be sent by rail to the CSX rail yard near Elsmere, Delaware.  There the containers would be loaded on trucks and sent back up to Chester.  One obvious question is why should all these containers pass through Chester, southbound to Delaware, then be trucked back up to Chester?  Chester is loaded with rail facilities, including tracks right next to the Covanta incinerator.  This would obviously produce a lot of dust, noise, odors, diesel emissions, and traffic congestion, with no benefit to Delaware.  The Elsmere rail yard has been controversial in years past.  What about now?

The contract says: “… all of the Intermodal Facilities listed in this Appendix have been duly approved for use by the City of New York, Department of Sanitation, Bureau of Waste Disposal, as of the Contract Execution Date.”  Has anyone in Delaware been asked about this?  We spoke to a CSX Corporation representative but didn’t learn much.

What happpens if the Chester incinerator is down for maintanance?  Would some of this New York City garbage end up permanently in Delaware at one of the DSWA dumps?  In the past, the Dirty Authority sought to open its dumps to out-of-state garbage but was successfully opposed.

The contract appears to run for 20-30 years.  It’s over 700 pages and we are still studying it.

More power lines to be hung up over the Delaware River?

Many years ago there was a lot of controversy over the stringing of power lines from the Salem/Hope Creek nuke plants in New Jersey to Delaware.  Now, various interests are scheming to add another, parallel set of wires.  There seems to be no need for this–the documents are pretty impenetrable–but that hasn’t stopped Delaware’s ever-wrongheaded “Public Advocate,” Dave Bonar, from signing a July 16, 2014 letter saying:

The Delaware Division of the Public Advocate (“DDPA”) wholeheartedly endorses PJM Transmission Planning Staff’s recommendation to construct a 500 kV transmission from Hope Creek to Red Lion and a SVC at New Freedom.  Consequently we urge you and the PJM Board to approve the project at your Board meeting on July 22nd.”

The PJM board did NOT give approval on July 22nd but the future course of this scheme is unclear.  For more details seem Carol Overland’s post on Legalectric.org

(A few months ago we wrote up Bonar for trying to keep members of the public, even legislators, from participating in Delaware Public Commission cases:  Urgent Action Alert: Preserve public access to the “Public Service Commission”)

Action Item:  Call “Public Advocate” Dave Bonar and ask him to WITHDRAW his letter of support:  david.bonar@state.de.us, 302.577.5077

Utility ripoffs are a heads-we-win-tails-you-lost proposition.  For example, some may remember the cancelled-as-unnecessary Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway (MAPP) project.  For details on this see Legalectric.org.   After cancellation, PEPCO/Delmarva Power  asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission–an industry-serving “regulator”–for $87 million of ‘prudently-incurred’ abandonment costs.  After various proceedings PEPCO apparently got 80.5 million.  They should not have gotten a dime as the project never benefited anybody.

Alan Muller

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