Response to the New Castle Weekly “Green Recovery Technologies” puff piece

[To the New Castle Weekly]

Your June 3rd piece “Beware the Chicken Plant…That Wasn’t” might better be entitled “Beware Journalism…that Isn’t.”

It’s wonderful that the reporter is on a first-name basis with the promoter and reports everything he says as fact, but this does not help readers understand the pros and cons of this proposal.

First, lets consider what the Coastal Zone Act says:

Purpose.

It is hereby determined that the coastal areas of Delaware are the most critical areas for the future of the State in terms of the quality of life in the State. It is, therefore, the declared public policy of the State to control the location, extent and type of industrial development in Delaware’s coastal areas. In so doing, the State can better protect the natural environment of its bay and coastal areas and safeguard their use primarily for recreation and tourism. Specifically, this chapter seeks to prohibit entirely the construction of new heavy industry in its coastal areas, which industry is determined to be incompatible with the protection of that natural environment in those areas. While it is the declared public policy of the State to encourage the introduction of new industry into Delaware, the protection of the environment, natural beauty and recreation potential of the State is also of great concern. In order to strike the correct balance between these 2 policies, careful planning based on a thorough understanding of Delaware’s potential and the State’s needs is required. Therefore, control of industrial development other than that of heavy industry in the coastal zone of Delaware through a permit system at the state level is called for. It is further determined that offshore bulk product transfer facilities represent a significant danger of pollution to the coastal zone and generate pressure for the construction of industrial plants in the coastal zone, which construction is declared to be against public policy….”

This language is clear enough and is a key reason why, since it was enacted in 1971, the City of New Castle has become a cleaner, more appealing place. It means that industrial plants should not be build in the Coastal Zone without some compelling reason. The so-called “Green Recovery Technologies” (GRT) plant has no reason to be in the Coastal Zone, indeed, it has no reason to be in Delaware at all, to process chicken wastes hauled up from South Carolina.

Further, the “proposed” plant, already built without permits, is essentially experimental. It might stink, it might not. There is no similar existing facility to check out, no neighbors to talk to.

My organization submitted detailed comments on which can be read here: http://www.greendel.org/2014/11/17/chicken-waste-plant-coastal-zone-permit-green-delawares-comments/.

We noted that “information provided by the applicants and apparently accepted by the State is in numerous ways incomplete, obviously inaccurate, non-responsive, and otherwise defective.”

We noted that “The “feed material” and product streams are variously described as “Poultry Fines,” “Solid format biomass consisting of protein supplement with associated fatty and mineral components,” “Dehydrated poultry protein, bone, feathers, fatty and mineral components …,” “Dried poultry processing fines containing protein, oil and water,” “… a previously rendered, conmingled [sic] stream of protein and lipids from the poultry processing industry,” “Rendered Poultry Fat,” “Chicken Fat,” “Extracted DAF [dissolved air flotation?] Protein,” “Extracted Chicken By-product Meal,” Dried Poultry Processing DAF sludge,” “DAF Sludge,” etc.” Lots of potential for stinks here.

The Delaware Audubon Society commented:

“In summary, Delaware Audubon Society requests that DNREC reject the Coastal Zone Permit for Green Recovery Technologies along multiple grounds — lack of business history, lack of business acumen, lack of significant investment, limitation of personal risk, distance to raw materials, closeness to environmental justice communities, and perceptions of back door dealings by the government given the so-called “gamble” by the angel investors on operating floor expansion, equipment acquisition and local government permitting, before obtaining the Coastal Zone Act Permit from DNREC.” (Full Audubon comments here:  http://www.greendel.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/2014-Nov-DAS-Martell-comments-on-GRT-Coastal-Zone-Act-Permit.pdf )

We concluded: “the GRT application has innumerable fatal defects. The DNREC should deny the requested CZA permit.”

The application was withdrawn and then resubmitted. It is essentially the same, and we see no reason to change our position that a permit should not be granted. GRT built the facility in an inappropriate location without needed permits. GRT should bear the costs of relocating their plant.

Two public hearings have been scheduled:

“The public hearing for the Coastal Zone Act Permit will be held on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, at the DNREC office building at 391 Lukens Drive, New Castle, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Fifteen minutes after the Coastal Zone Act Permit hearing concludes, a second public hearing for the applicant’s Air Quality Management Permit will be held.”

People can submit comments on whether the permit should be granted to: PublicComments.DNREC@state.de.us

Alan Muller
Executive Director, Green Delaware
greendel.org, alan@greendel.org

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