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Alert #58

Sneaking a burner into Smyrna...

"Central Delaware Economic Development Council" promotes incinerator
Town and County officials kept in the dark

Amendment HA1 seeks to weaken incinerator bill.

Port Penn, DE, April 3, 2000.

The promoters of the Philpower incinerator have not had an easy time in Delaware. They have been kicked out of five locations in New Castle County. The City of New Castle, the City of Wilmington, and the New Castle County government have all introduced laws or resolutions limiting or opposing incinerators. SB 280, a bill to effectively ban new incinerators in Delaware, is on a fast track in The Delaware General Assembly.

Dozens of organizations have opposed Philpower, whose permit applications show it could put out thousands pounds of health-damaging air pollutants, some known to cause cancer, every day. Philpower would burn about 500 million pounds per year of waste, much of it hauled into Delaware from surrounding states. Philpower would have a 215 foot smokestack and would bring dozens of heavy trucks a day to it's location, loaded with either waste or ash.

On April Fools Day Rep. Bruce Ennis introduced House Amendment 1 to SB 280, intended to "permit municipalities within Kent and Sussex Counties [Delaware has only 3 counties] to allow the operation of an incinerator ... within the municipal boundaries ...." Ennis indicated the Town of Smyrna, located in Kent County, which he represents in the state legislature, wanted the incinerator in it's industrial park, said to be in need of clients.

Smyrna Mayor Robert P. Newnam told Green Delaware "we have not Initiated any of this at all ... we have not asked for the legislation to be put in." Mike Jacobs, Town Manager, said he didn't know about it, but that the industrial park is for "office parks and light industrial." Harold Peterman, President of the Kent County Levy Court, is Kent County's top elected official. He told us "first time I've heard about it."

The Central Delaware Economic Development Council was described to us by its President Leroy Klein, a builder, as "the official economic development arm for the cities and [Kent] county, "and "a joint venture of Levy Court and the Chamber [of commerce]." He said his Council is "trying to assist [Philpower] in going into Smyrna." He described Philpower as "very efficient, clean ... they make no more pollution than one fireplace... cleaner than the SUV I drive ... clean as a whistle." Asked how his Council gets environmental input into decision-making, Klein said "from me, I'm an environmentalist." Klein said Council Executive Director Dan Wolfensberger has been "spending virtually full time for the last few weeks" trying to bring Philpower to Smyrna. Wolfensberger told us "My field is economic development ... I have no expertise in environmental matters ... I have no idea whether they [Philpower] are clean or not." (Wolfensberger also repeatedly threatened to sue Green Delaware, and said: "I think Green Delaware doesn't really exist ... I think you should stay up there in New Castle County and leave us alone down here.") Wolfensberger declined to give us the name of any local or county officials supportive of Philpower or other incinerator projects.

Daryl Minott, Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office, said "this is not the sort of facility we want in the Smyrna Industrial Park ... we are not that desperate ... we are not supportive of the project." Klein said lobbyist Robert Maxwell "is pushing this." Maxwell represents Philpower, but also the Association of [Delaware] Counties and the League of Local Governments, to which Kent County and the Town of Smyrna belong. Maxwell does not return calls from Green Delaware, so we were unable to ask how he justifies trying to bring an incinerator into a town and a county whose interests he supposedly represents, without consulting the officials who employ him. Maxwell was recently dropped as a lobbyist by the American Cancer Society after many objected to it's use of a lobbyist also promoting a source of cancer-causing air pollution. According to Delaware Public Integrity Commission Director Janet Wright, there are no laws prohibiting lobbyists in Delaware from having conflicts of interests.

Green Delaware was unable to seek a statement from Philpower Corporation as they have told us not to call them.

We will be addressing the Smyrna Town Council on Monday at 7:30 PM,
And the Kent Count Levy Court on Tuesday at the same time.

The sponsors of HA 1 are:

    Reps. Bruce Ennis (h)653-7566 (o)739-4351
    Gerald Buckworth (h)697-2033 (o)739-5303
    V. George Carey (h)684-8353 (o)739-4119
    Wallace Caulk (h)335-3305 (o)739-4081
    Charles Welch (h)678-2900 (o)739-4175
    Benjamin Ewing (h)337-7395 (o) 739-4150
    "Bobby" Quillen (h)398-8400 (o)739-4083
    Donna Stone (h)736-1044 (o) 739-4453
    Nancy Wagner (h)734-1823, (o)739-4177

All area codes are 302.

None of these legislators sought the opinion of Green Delaware on this amendment. Phil Cherry of Governor Tom Carper's office said the Governor would support the bill either with or without the amendment.

EDITORIAL COMMENT:

Green Delaware is a statewide organization committed to protecting ALL citizens of Delaware from incinerator pollution. This episode illustrates why Delaware needs a strong anti-incinerator bill with NO EXCEPTIONS. SB 280 will reach the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday, April 6th around 2 PM. Please contact members of the House of Representatives to oppose HA 1 and any other weakening amendments. Emails of House members are below.

Rep. Donna Stone <dstone@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Cathy Cloutier <ccloutier@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. William Oberle <woberle@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Gerald Buckworth <gbuckworth@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Bruce Ennis <bennis@legis.state.de.us>,
Rep. David Ennis <dennis@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Joe Miro <jmiro@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Charles Welch <cwelch@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. John Van Sant <jvansant@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. David Brady <dbrady@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Wayne Smith <wsmith@legis.state.de.us> ,
Rep. Dennis Williams <dwilliams@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. John Viola <jviola@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Richard DiLiberto <rdiliberto@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Pamela Maier <pmaier@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Vince Lofink <vlofink@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Richard Cathcart <RCathcart@legis.state.de.us> ,
Rep. Richard Cathcart <rcathcar@dsc.edu>
Rep. Shirley Price <shprice@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Roger Roy <rroy@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Bruce Reynolds <BCReynolds@aol.com>
Rep. Robert Gilligan <rgilligan@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Tim Boulden <tboulden@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Deborah Capano <dcapano@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Stephanie Ulbrich <saulbrich@aol.com>
Rep. Tina Fallon <tinafallon@theIC.com>
Rep. John Schroeder <jschroeder@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Tina Fallon <tfallon@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Helene Keeley <hkeeley@legis.state.de.us>
Rep. Nancy Wagner <nwagner@legis.state.de.us>

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

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Alan J. Muller,  Exec. Director
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This page was last updated on April 1, 2000. 
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