·GREEN DELAWARE NEWS: 2001·

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Green Delaware News #34

    "No Flush" sewer cleanup bill approved in House
             Child abuse in Delaware
             Return of rail service to Dover in the works?
             Rotting minds at the University of Delaware
             Bills to limit smoking in public places
             How polluters influence "environmental education"
             SB 33:  Minner's "Pollution Bill"
    More....

    House Bill 195, the sewer cleanup bill, approved by House committee

    Port Penn, Delaware, May 15, 2001.  On May 9th the House of Representatives held a committee hearing on HB 195, which sets a deadline of Jan 1, 2009, for ending of raw sewage dumping in Delaware.  The City of Wilmington sent a sizeable delegation to make a presentation opposing the bill.  Contrary to repeated assurances from Wilmington Mayor Jim Baker that he wants to clean up the dumping, the City presentation held to the same old line: "little water quality benefit" would be realized by a cleanup and, anyway, Wilmington can't afford it.  The representatives weren't fooled and
    approved the bill unanimously.  Rep. Robert J. Valihura summarized legislative sentiment by saying "This is the most disgusting thing I've ever seen."  Scare tactics: Wilmington is spreading the word that cleanup would cost 500 million dollars, but has offered no details to support the claim.  More details coming up in a separate Alert.  ACTION: let
    Gov. Minner know you want this bill enacted: gminner@state.de.us, 577-3210, 739-4101

    Factoids from "Prevent Child Abuse Delaware"

    According to the Kids Count 2000-2001 Fact Book, "reports of child abuse and neglect increased 50% between 1986 and 1993 due to the rise in family poverty, the rise in substance abuse, and decline in the amount of social services available to these families."  "During FY 2000, the Divisions of Family Services received 5,893 reports of child abuse and neglect, substantiating 1,988, or about 33%."

    Rep. Nancy Wagner promotes return of passenger trains to Dover

    Everyone in Delaware is impacted by "Route 1," the north-south highway that was promoted to a gullible public (and gullible civic organizations) as a "relief route" for beach traffic but was actually intended to "unzip" the state for another destructive round of development.  It worked:  Though the billion-dollar-plus Route 1 is incomplete, the entire state is suffering from the congestion and sprawl induced by this misguided project.  Representative Nancy Wagner of Dover has put a lot of time and energy into something more sensible: restoring passenger train service to Dover from Wilmington and other points North.

    House Joint Resolution 6, with more than 40 sponsors, sets up a Task Force to "research the feasibility of providing rail transportation between Dover and Wilmington."  Rail Passenger Association leader John Flaherty said: "This is an important step towards restoring rail passenger service to lower Delaware after a fifty-year hiatus.  Nancy Wagner took the bull by the horns.  She has approached this project with a can-do attitude and hasn't taken no for an answer."  The first concrete result is a train to the NASCAR races in Dover on June 3rd.  ACTION:  Let officeholders know you support rail transit.

    Rotting minds at the University of Delaware?  (Or is it backbones?) 

    At a Budget Office hearing earlier this year, a Green Delaware representative testified that University of Delaware students were being "lobotomized" by an industry-controlled university.  Here are two examples of why one might think that:

    "Students for the Environment (S4E)"  This group at the University of Delaware was involved in covering up the arrest of a Green Delaware representative at their University for giving out flyers about Wilmington's raw sewage dumping (Also involved in the coverup were the student newspaper, The Review, and the U. of D. chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.).  S4E sends out emails about issues in Seatttle, Alaska
    and other places far from campus.  When a Green Delaware amail about the Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation exposing park visitors to sewage was posted on the organization's list, this response appeared: "Please, Only post timely, pertinent, and most importantly, researched information to the list. Thank you Leigh Johnson, treasurer, S4E UD Environmental Engineering."

    The Review editors wrote on May 4th: "... In reality, solar power is somewhat inefficient, and its funds may best be spent elsewhere ... Nuclear power, however, is one of the best energy sources available, and any option is a good option. ..."

    Important bills would limit smoking in public places

    The info below is excerpted from Business Week magazine, May 7, 2001 (Thanks to Green Delaware Steering Committee member Anna White, an active anti-tobacco- industry activist.)

       
      By Paul Raeburn

      "This year is the 15th anniversary of an event that will not be celebrated
      by the tobacco industry:  the publication of The Health Consequences of
      Involuntary Smoking by then-Surgeon General C. Everett  Koop. The report
      solidly linked secondhand smoke to cancer and heart disease in nonsmokers,
      and  included these words:  "Separation of smokers and nonsmokers within
      the same airspace may reduce, but does not eliminate, exposure of
      nonsmokers to environmental tobacco smoke."

       
      "According to the Centers for Disease Control, secondhand smoke:

      -- Causes 3,000 deaths from lung cancer and 62,000 heart disease deaths in
      U.S. nonsmokers each year
      -- Causes serious respiratory problems in children, including increasing
      the frequency and severity of asthma attacks
      -- Increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and middle-ear
      infections in children
      -- Represents a common, severe public-health hazard that can be entirely
      prevented by adopting and enforcing tough antismoking regulations"


    Senate Bill 93, Sen. George Bunting, and Senate Bill 99, Sen Dave McBride and others, would protect people in Delaware from having to breathe this secondhand smoke in restaurants and other public places.  SB 99 is the bill going forward, but Sen. Bunting plans to introduce an amendment to strengthen it by including "standalone taverns."  Bunting commented: "your rights and mine are violated when we go into a restaurant and have to breath smoke."  These bills are supported by many medical practitioners and opposed by the Delaware Restaurant Association.  ACTION: let your Representative and Senator know you support SB99 with Sen.  Bunting's amendment.

    Delaware Solid Waste Authority mocks recycling

    Every year the Delaware Solid Waste Authority holds an event at the University of Delaware to promote incineration and bad-mouth recycling.  Running this years May 9th meeting was Ronald L. Mersky of Widener University.  Mersky opposes recycling and says cans and bottles should be thrown into landfills or incinerators.  He boasts of having
    chaired the committee that put a giant garbage burner into Chester City PA, creating one of the most infamous examples of "environmental injustice" in the United States.  Awards went to Citisteel, Motiva, and former Gov. Sherman Tribbitt.  Motiva is one of Delaware's most worst environmental offenders, and Tribbitt was put into office after the polluters kicked out Russ Peterson as governor for creating the Delaware Coastal Zone Act.  The meeting was structured to prevent members of the public from speaking, and at least four University of Delaware cops stood around to intimidate attendees.  Next to the refreshments could be seen a bulging trash basket of plastic cups, glasses, and plates, all marked as recyclable but destined for the trash.  A panel discussion featured Nick diPasquale, head of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and one of Green Delaware's most vocal opponents; Jerry Esposito, head of Tidewater Utilities, known for the many hundreds of complaints made by its customers; and Debbie Heaton of the Sierra Club, who testified in favor of increased water pollution by the City of Wilmington.  Various governors have used appointments to the Board of the Authority as political rewards--none of the members have shown any useful interest in recycling.

    How Polluters Influence Environmental Education 

    (courtesy of Garden State Environnews. We strongly suggest reading the whole thing at www.utne.com)
     

      SMOKE AND MIRRORS

      By John F. Borowski, Utne Reader, May-June 2001

        Florida's Orange County Convention Center is big. Big enough to hold the
      Sears Tower, if you laid it on its side. So big you could walk 10 miles and
      never leave the cement behemoth. A hulking structure like this was
      necessary to host the recent National Science Teachers
      Convention, the largest gathering of educators in the nation: more than
      14,000 science teachers, and hundreds of exhibitors passing out armloads of
      pamphlets, packets, books, stickers, posters, and other goodies.

        A handful of conservation groups were on hand offering teachers
      inspiration and information on how to teach about environmental issues, hut
      they were clearly in the minority.
        When I started teaching 20 years ago, I could not have imagined such a
      perverse display: industries and their front groups trying to justify
      everything from deforestation to the extinction of species

      -  The coal industry's Greening Earth Society passed out videos and teacher
      guides on the "fallacies" of global warming.

      -  The "Temperate Forest Foundation" offered a video titled The Dynamic
      Forest, in which insects and fire hurt forests, but industry provides the
      needed remedies with the help of chain saws.

      -  The American Farm Bureau, avowed enemies of environmental  education,
      propositioned teachers to reconsider the dangers of chemical herbicides and
      insecticides,

        They were selling lies, and the teachers were buying - quickly filling
      their bags with curricula as corrosive as the pesticides that the Farm
      Bureau promotes. Where were the largest environmental groups to counter
      this frontal assault on environmental education? Where was the outcry of
      the educational community? Most Americans consider our public schools to be
      hallowed ground, where young people learn about the world through carefully
      chosen curriculum. Yet corporations now view schools as convenient
      locations for the dissemination of propaganda debunking environmental
      concerns.

        Environmental education is under assault on two fronts. First,
      multinational corporations are designing and distributing environmental
      curricula that are professionally produced, easy to use, often free, and
      incredibly biased in favor of industry. Second, some of the most prominent
      conservative think tanks in America are mounting a well-funded attack on
      genuine environmental education. [...]


    Senate Bill 33

    Lots of publicity has attended this so-called (by the Wilmington News Journal) "pollution bill."  It's represented as the fulfillment of a campaign promise of Gov.  Ruth Ann Minner.  The original version, drafted by the Department of Natural Resources (DNREC) was so "inartfully done" (quoting DNREC Secretary Nick DiPasquale) that nobody could really tell what it meant. Newer versions are only slightly less confusing.  The basic idea is to beef up slightly the requirements for reporting of "environmental releases."  There is also a provision for designating "chronic violators."  Petro-chemical lobbyists have complained steadily and have been accommodated.  In three hearings in Dover, we've heard the usual babble about "all the stakeholders," but DiPasquale's testimony has made clear that only industrial interests have really been consulted. An evil
    part of the bill is Section 9, establishing a "Community Involvement Advisory Council," and "Ombudsman," that seem intended to deceive and manipulate communities threatened by polluting facilities.  Nothing in the bill would directly reduce emissions.


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This page was last updated on May 20, 2001.

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