Alert #57

Union of Concerned Scientists opposes Delaware incinerator ban 

Port Penn, DE. March 28, 2000. Alan Nogee, "Energy Program Director" of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), has written a letter to the Gov. of Delaware and top legislators opposing Senate Bill 280, which prohibits new incinerators within 3 miles of the property boundary line of any residence, residential community, church, school, park, or hospital. This letter will be used by Philpower lobbyists such as Robert Maxwell to try to weaken S.B. 280 as the House of Representatives considers it this week. Nogee, also a member of the Green Power Board of the Center for Resource Solutions (the "Green-e" people) wrote: 

" We are writing you in opposition to S. 280, An Act to Amend Title 7 of the Delaware Code Relating to Incinerators. S. 280 ... would classify any facility that burns wood or other clean organic wastes as an incinerator and subject such facilities to stringent siting requirements ... clean biomass energy sources ... can reduce harmful air emissions from electricity generation for Delaware consumers...." In a separate email, Nogee accused Green Delaware of "blurring distinctions between clean wood and other sources of biomass through the generic label of 'incineration'." (Copies available from Green Delaware.)

In fact, Philpower, in it's permit applications, says 5% of the material it want to burn (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 (see Green Delaware Alert #34). 

In fact, S.B 280 does not cover wood grown as an "energy crop," it covers burning of waste materials.

In fact, Green Delaware has repeatedly offered to meet with Philpower to review any updated information or permit applications. No response.

In fact, few believe "construction and demolition debris" can be reliably "segregated" into "clean waste wood." 

The UCS opposes many nuke power plants. In promoting burning, it seems to have made the same mistake as many nuke supporters who believed nuke power would reduce air pollution, without considering the dangers of radiation, expense, and other bad side effects. "Ivory tower enviros betraying threatened communities." UCS officials were unavailable for comment.

Action: Contact Howard Ris, Executive Director of the UCS, (617.547.5552, ex 222, jcs@ucsusa.org) and Mr. Nogee (617.547.5552 x 257, anogee@ucsusa.org). Ask UCS to withdraw it's misguided and uninformed support for incineration in Delaware. (Green Delaware will pay for long distance calls about incineration.)

Green Delaware supports truly green energy sources. It is sad to see an "environmental" organization fronting for the incineration industry. UCS isn't the only offender in this regard rumors are circulating that Environmental Defense (Dan_Kirshner@EDF.org) and National Resources Defense Council (rcavanagh@nrdc.org) are circulating a letter promoting construction and demolition debris incineration, and aimed at Delaware. The Sierra Club (carl.pope@sierraclub.org) has been silent after Delaware Sierra leaders met with Philpower lobbyists. The "Green Power Board" (Rabago@rmi.org) and the Center for Resource Solutions (MDLevine@lbl.gov) are promoting incineration (They call it "biomass," or "biopower."). We say it stinks.

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


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Alan J. Muller, Exec. Director
P.O. Box 69
Port Penn, DE 19731
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This page was last updated on April 3, 2000.