Alert #34


Wed. June 16, 6:30, at the Rose Hill Community Center on Lambson Lane.
A representative of the incinerator will talk. So will Green Delaware and the Civic Health Alliance.
Call 302.656.8513 for directions.

Wed. June 23, 6:00, at the DNREC offices in Riveredge Industrial Park,
391 Lukens Drive in New Castle, DE.
Public Hearing on Coastal Zone Permit for the incinerator.
Call 302.395.2600 for directions.

Delaware officials ignore law, move to allow incinerator in Coastal Zone:
Actions needed immediately to protect communities

How You Can Help

Apologies for the excessive length of this Alert. There is a lot of information and little time. See Green Delaware Alert #29, Sept 10, 1998, "Another Waste Burner Proposed for Pigeon Point," for the history of this issue.

Port Penn, DE. June 16, 1999. In June 1998 incinerators were banned by law in Delaware's Coastal Zone. Much support for the ban was based on terrible experiences with an incinerator at Pigeon Point, near the Delaware River between New Castle and Wilmington, Delaware. Now, less than a year later, Delaware officials are moving to issue permits for ANOTHER incinerator at Pigeon Point. They, like promoters Philpower Corp., claim its really a "power plant." This is exactly the same reason used to issue permits for the infamous Delaware Solid Waste Authority incinerator at Pigeon Point.

EMISSIONS: The proposed incinerator would burn about 482 million pounds per year of "waste wood, demolition waste and yard waste." About 6000 (2100 in a later application) tons of this combustible waste would be stored on site at all times. The burner would run day and night, putting out up to 1,365,600 (1.4 million) pounds per year of health-threatening air pollutants (such as carbon monoxide, ammonia, nitrogen oxides and toxic metals) from it's smokestack. In addition, waste fuel would be ground up in giant grinders, putting out up to 2.4 million pounds of dust ("particulate matter") each year. OVERALL, THE INCINERATOR COULD PUT OUT OVER TEN THOUSAND POUNDS PER DAY OF AIR POLLUTANTS. If the fuel arrived by truck, about 66 20 ton truckloads a day could arrive, increasing traffic noise, dust, and cancer-causing diesel exhaust.

WASTE TO BE BURNED: The promoters say "clean wood" but the permit applications say up to 5 percent (2.4 million pounds per year) could be treated with creosote, pentaclorophenol, arsenic, chromium, and other toxic and cancer-causing materials. Up to 20 percent (96 million pounds per year) could be "... foreign matter (nails, staples, metal brackets, plastic, etc.)" The "construction" and "demolition" debris can be expected to also include lead paint, asbestos and other harmful materials.

HEALTH HAZARDS: According to the Environmental Defense Fund "scorecard," based on Environmental Protection Agency data, in New Castle County DE the average individual's added cancer risk from "hazardous air pollutants" is 460 times the acceptable level (according to the Clean Air Act) and 27th worst in the US. The average individual's noncancer hazard index is 18 times higher than it should be, and 86th worst in the US. (Salem County NJ, where a lot of Delaware pollution goes, is 5th and 2nd worst in the US.) Delaware has the highest cancer death rate of any state, and many other bad public health problems. The site of the proposed incinerator is among the most polluted and unhealthy parts of this polluted and unhealthy county. The nearby neighborhoods are relatively low income and under stress in other ways. To add ten thousand pounds per day of health threatening air pollutants to this already bad situation would be a classic example of "environmental injustice."

INCINERATOR TO BUILT FROM USED AND SCRAP EQUIPMENT: "In order to provide a more cost-effective and timely project, refurbished, remanufactured, or unused equipment from the secondary market...will be utilized as much as possible."

THE BURNER COULD BE EXPANDED: Philpower has leased 15 acres for "Philpower 1." "Philpower Corporation holds an option on a additional 60 acres at the site ... to provide additional flexibility in expanding the plant site in the future."

WHO OWNS PHILPOWER CORPORATION? W. Wayne Coverdale, President, lives in Tennessee. Secretary A. Lawrence Sherman lives in Kentucky. Ex. Vice President Thomas Michael Peek lives in Tennessee. James Mark Mogen, Treasurer, lives in Tennessee. (Addresses and phone numbers not disclosed.) Philpower is represented by "Law Office of Judson Shutt," 167 Conestoga Road, Wayne, PA. Phone 610.688.5993


DNREC and other state officials met with Philpower in January 1998. The public was not notified. (DNREC has a "Development Advisory Service" to make it easier to get permits.)

Coastal Zone Administrator Dennis Brown stated on WILM radio in September 1998 that such an incinerator could be permitted as a power plant.

(After Green Delaware issued Alert #29, WILM Radio contacted promoters of the project, and state officials, but did not contact us. The Wilmington "Stooge" Journal blacked out the story because, they said, it came from Green Delaware and not "official sources." WDEL Radio and the Delaware State News ignored the story. Continuing media bias must be expected.)

In internal correspondence DNREC has always referred to a "wood gasification steam driven cogeneration plant" (March 5, 1999 memo from Paul Janiga), "resource recovery permit," (Feb. 24, 1999 email from James Short) etc, a "new power plant," etc.

DNREC officials claim to have an opinion from the office of Atty. General Jane Brady about whether the Philpower project is an incinerator but won't reveal it. (Atty. General Brady, a strong supporter of industrial polluters and likely candidate for Governor of Delaware, did not return a call from Green Delaware.)

DNREC Hearing Officer Rod Thompson has written to Green Delaware, asking that we "supply your objections or areas of concern to me and the Applicant by June 16th." [In order that Philpower may be prepared to refute them and a permit be granted more quickly].

DNREC officials have admitted to Green Delaware that they have decided the incinerator isn't an incinerator, and they plan to issue permits unless there is extraordinary public opposition.

How You Can Help

Attend the meeting on June 16th and the public hearing on June 23rd. See Key Upcoming Events

Call Governor Carper's Office (302.577.3210), and send him an email ssnyder@state.de.us

Call Natural Resources Secretary Nick DiPasquale (302.739.4403), and send him an email ndipasquale@state.de.us. Say the Philpower proposal is unacceptable because it is an incinerator in the Coastal Zone, it would threaten community health, and there are better ways to manage waste than incineration.

Contact Philpower Corporation (601.688.5993, fax 610.688.5994). Let them know how you feel about their project.

If you live in Delaware, contact your Senator, Representative, and County Council person. Let them know how you feel about Philpower, and that you want legislation to clarify what is an incinerator.

Write a letter to the editor, call a radio talk show.

Look for more details in upcoming Green Delaware News. (C) Alan Muller


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Alan J. Muller, Coordinator
P.O. Box 69
Port Penn, DE 19731
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This page was last updated on June 16, 1999.