Alert #56

"Committee on Environmental Control" established:
Sen. Dave McBride excludes community based activists, incinerator opponents, his own constituents, and Green Delaware

Port Penn, DE. March 24, 2000. After recent scandals involving cover-up of cancer causing pollution by state officials, and a big controversy over incinerators, Delaware state senators have set up a "Legislative/Citizens Committee on Environmental Control." The first meeting will be held on Wed., April 5, 2000 at 7:00 PM in the Senate Chambers in Legislative Hall, Dover, DE.

The members, selected by Senator McBride, at the request of Sen. Tom Sharp:

Senator Dorinda Connor (New Castle), Senator George Bunting (Bethany Beach), Senator Steve Amick (Newark), Rep. William Oberle (Beecher's Lot), Rep. Arthur Scott (Wilmington), Sen. Robert Venables (Laurel), Ms. Til Purnell (Millsboro), Mr. Lawrence Sullivan (Wilmington), Richard Fleming (Hokessin), Mr. Carl Solberg (Kent County).

Carl Solberg is a Kent County official involved with the Sierra Club Delaware Chapter. The Sierra Club has taken no position on the recent Philpower controversy, after meeting with Philpower lobbyists. Sierra Club Conservation Chair Debbie Heaton recently testified IN FAVOR OF a permit allowing increased river pollution by the City of Wilmington. Sierra Club officials have been caught spreading malicious rumors about Green Delaware officers.

Richard Fleming is a chemical industry consultant closely associated with the Delaware "Nature" Society. The "Nature" Society is supported by industrial interests, and has strong ties to the DuPont family and company. Fleming, who represents himself as an environmentalist without acknowledging his conflicts of interest, has been involved in numerous sellouts. For example, a press conference was held in Legislative Hall in June, 1988, to urge passage of Senate Bill 98, banning incineration in the Coastal Zone. A statement authored by Fleming was read, urging the Senators NOT to pass the bill. Letters from the "Nature" Society were placed on the Senators' desks, urging them not to pass the bill. (The "Nature" Society wouldn't give Green Delaware a copy of this letter). Later, in its newsletter, the "Nature" Society claimed credit for passing the bill. Fleming was recently involved in setting up meetings between Philpower Corp. and the Sierra Club, Audubon Society, League of Women voters, etc., at which he and others were told of proposed incinerator sites , but did not notify either Green Delaware or the threatened communities. (Fleming hung up when we called to investigate this.)

None of Senator McBride's (or Sen. Connor's) constituents, many of whom have been fighting pollution in their communities for many years, are included.

Green Delaware is getting many calls and emails asking and complaining about this Committee. It is a bit embarrassing. We aren't in the habit of touting our own accomplishments, but every member of the General Assembly knows we are the most competent and independent advocacy organization in the state working on environment and public health issues. People are asking us why we have been excluded. This is a good question to ask Senator McBride and his colleagues. We suppose it illustrates (1) the deep-seated hostility in Delaware's political system towards independent voices, (2) the ineffectual if not corrupt nature of Delaware's "environmental community," (3) intention to continue "business as usual" after the publicity dies down. (Sen. McBride did not immediately return calls or emails from Green Delaware.)


Sen. Dave McBride, 322.6100 (home), 738.4167 (office) dmcbride@legis.state.de.us

Sen. Dori Connor, 328-8944 (home), 577-8714 (office)

Sen. Tom Sharp, 994-0042 (home), 577-8720 (office), tsharp@legis.state.de.us

Sen. Steve Amick 738-0215 (home), 577-8714 (office), samick@legis.state.de.us

Sen. George Bunting, 302.539.2229 (home) 302.227.3891 (office), gbunting@legis.state.de.us

Rep. Bill Oberle, 738-6241 (home), 577-8723 (office)

plus YOUR Senator and Representative.

Call into the John Rago Show on WDEL between 10 and 12 on weekdays. The number is 478-8275. Rago is planning to have Sen. McBride as a guest. (Rago has been more open to Green Delaware's concerns than most other Delaware media.)

NOTE:  A vigil/demonstration/press conference will be held in Legislative Hall in Dover on April 5th at 6:30 PM to protest the exclusion of community voices and independent voices from Sen. McBride's committee. This will be immediately before the first meeting of the Committee. For details contact Green Delaware.

Green Delaware is an independent, community-based organization working on health and environmental issues.

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


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This page was last updated on April 3, 2000.