Green Delaware News #28

    In this issue: incinerators, sewers, "no-flush" campaign, politics, primary 
    election candidates, radiation and health forum, Labor Day.

    Port Penn, DE, September 5, 2000.  The Green Delaware News features 
    background information about environmental and public health issues, and 
    about Green Delaware itself.  It's different from the Alerts, which usually 
    focus on a single immediate concern..  As always, we appreciate feedback 
    and contributions.  And, we hope you will ACT in some way, even if it's 
    only sending a quick email, or making a phone call.

    Incinerator industry burned in Delaware

    Senate Bill 280, passed April 6th,  makes it very difficult to build any 
    more large incinerators anywhere in Delaware.  This bill was a follow-on to 
    Senate Bill 88, banning incinerators in Delaware's Coastal Zone.  It was 
    the culmination of years of work against the Delaware Solid Waste 
    Authority, Foster-Wheeler Corporation, Conectiv, Philpower, and Gov.  Tom 
    Carper.  There are lots of lessons to be learned from this, and we will be 
    writing about more of them.  Above all, for this writer, it showed that in 
    Delaware, as influenced by special interests as we are, there is a 
    democratic process that can, with determination, be made to work for the 
    people.  Everyone in Delaware owes a debt of gratitude to the members of 
    the General Assembly for rising to the occasion and passing SB 
    280.  (Senator Dave McBride, the Senate force behind the bill, probably did 
    not get the recognition he deserves.)

    Getting the sewage out of the rivers

    We think the people will win again, with a bill to clean up the Wilmington 
    sewers.  Years of talking with Wilmington Mayor Sills and State 
    environmental regulators accomplished little. Things began to change when 
    House Bill 671, setting a deadline of Jan 1, 2008 for eliminating "Combined 
    Sewer Overflows," was presented to the General Assembly.  The key part of 
    the bill requires that the overflows be completely eliminated.  Many 
    legislators signed on as co-sponsors, and Rep. Dick Cathcart moved the bill 
    through the committee process in the House of Representatives.  HB 671 was 
    on the agenda for a vote on the last day of the 140th General Assembly, but 
    didn't come up.  Strong opposition came from Democratic Senator Patti 
    Blevins, who had chaired an ineffectual "CSO Task Force."  Blevins 
    apparently used her position as chair of the powerful Bond Bill Committee 
    to pressure other legislators not to support HB 671.  Here are the official 
    co-sponsors:  Reps. Spence, Boulden, Buckworth, Capano, Carey, Caulk, 
    Cloutier, D. Ennis, Maier, Miro, Mulrooney, Quillen, Reynolds, Ulbrich, 
    Valihura, Brady, B. Ennis, Price, Scott, Viola, and West; Sens.  Amick, 
    Connor, and Simpson.   Not being on this list doesn't mean someone doesn't 
    support the bill; in some cases a legislator may not have yet been formally 
    asked.  Still, please make a point of thanking these legislators, and 
    urging others, and non-incumbent candidates, to sign-on.  The 141st General 
    Assembly convenes in January.  (The bill will be re-introduced with a 
    different number).

    The "No-flush" Corporate Responsibility Campaign

    Major employers in Wilmington have added thousands of jobs during the 
    administration of Mayor Jim Sills, who seems beholden to the "corporate 
    community."  In the last 3 years alone, Sills has run up a surplus of 32 
    million dollars, while diverting about 6 million dollars/year from his 
    Water and Sewer Fund to operating expenses..  Meanwhile, the City refuses 
    to modernize its sewer system, basically unchanged since 1952.  So, the 
    shiny new office buildings pour raw sewage into the rivers during rainy 
    weather.  Green Delaware is asking Wilmington's major employers, one at a 
    time, to use their enormous influence to help get SB 671 passed when the 
    state legislature convenes in January.  In the meanwhile, we are asking 
    them to lock bathrooms in rainy weather and put in portable toilets, or 
    sewage holding tanks.  Targets of the campaign include DuPont, MBNA, State 
    of Del., Wilmington Trust, Amtrak, 1st USA, the Community Services 
    Building, Delaware Tech, and others.  Every Wednesday at noon we leaflet a 
    Wilmington site (next: September 6th, the Community Services Building at 
    100 W. 10th St.). Response has been favorable, and coverage by Wilmington 
    radio stations has been good..  WHYY Channel 12 ("obscenity in public 
    broadcasting") has blacked out the campaign.

    Politics is where it's at

    Environment and health concerns get attention when the political process is 
    used effectively, and people do grassroots organizing--and don't waste all 
    their time arguing with in-the-bag regulatory agencies.  Attention is 
    surely needed in Delaware, one of the most unhealthy places in the US to 
    live.  Aside from the incinerator and sewer issues, not much environmental 
    advocacy has recently been visible in Dover.  One partial exception is the 
    Open Space Coalition, lead by the Delaware "Nature" Society.  This effort 
    was a failure: appropriations for "open space" and farmland preservation 
    were only about half of those last year (details coming up).  We asked a 
    representative of the "Nature" Society whether it supported HB 671.  The 
    answer: "No, we would never do anything that might offend the Bond Bill 
    Committee."  (The Nature Society was given $42,000 in Senate Bill 421, the 
    "grant in aid bill.")

    Help elect friends of Green Delaware

    If you are registered as a Republican or Democrat, you can and should vote 
    in a primary on Saturday, September 9th, from 7 AM to 8 PM.  For more 
    information try http://www.state.de.us/election/index.htm.  (There are 
    other parties in Delaware, and we will report on them in the next 
    News.  Remarkably, the Department of Elections website seems to know about 
    only the Republican and Democratic candidates.)  Below, we mention only a 
    few candidates involved in the primary.  We will have more to say before 
    the general election in November.

    Democrat Martha Denison is running for President of New Castle County 
    Council.  Denison is a founder of the 7 & 40 Alliance, probably the 
    strongest of the "civic umbrella groups."  She and spouse Rod have been 
    leaders in the fight against incinerators, and strong supporters of HB 671.  Marty has spoken at meeting after meeting, and lobbied in Dover for 
    HB 671.  She has a long track record of civic activism in the New Castle 
    and Route 40 areas.  Her opponents are Chris Coons, associated with the 
    Gore family and company, Vince Deanna, longtime Biden staffer and recently 
    a member of the New Castle County Planning Board, where he voted to oppose 
    preservation of a farm near Odessa, and Dwight L.  Davis, about whom we 
    don't know much. 

    Democrat Susan Regis Collins, candidate for District 7 of the Wilmington 
    City Council,  heads the Wilmington River-City Committee and has been a 
    strong supporter of the sewer clean-up and the fight against 
    incinerators.  She's in a primary race against incumbent Gerard W.  Kelly, 
    who chairs the Health committee of the City Council.

    Democrat Charles Potter, Jr., is a candidate for 1st District, Wilmington 
    City Council.  Potter is also connected with the River-City Committee and 
    has strongly opposed incinerators and supported river cleanup, and 
    environmental justice.

    Democrat Samuel L. Guy is an incumbent candidate for Wilmington City 
    Council at large.  Probably one of the most intelligent officeholders in 
    Delaware, Guy has been a good friend to Green Delaware and for many years 
    has spoken out for racial and economic justice.  He has often been 
    ridiculed in the News Journal, an honor he shares with Green Delaware.

    Denison and Collins, especially, can be seen as "peoples" candidates, 
    saying the right things in no-frills campaigns, but lacking establishment 
    support.  They need money, volunteers, and above all, votes.

  •         Committee to Elect Martha Denison, 302.832.8208, martydenison@acinc.com
  •         Collins Can, 302.652.0555, wilmrvrcity@dca.net
  •         The People for Potter 2000, 302.762.8322, cpjr@aol.com



    Bill Lee and John Burris both want the Republican nomination for 
    Governor.  Burris' recent history is as Executive Director of the Delaware 
    State Chamber of Commerce, the "Big Guys' Club" that does more than any 
    other single organization to keep Delaware's political system in the hands 
    of special interests.  It often operates through a bogus front organization 
    called the Delaware Public Policy Institute.  The Chamber works with 
    relentless effectiveness to weaken environmental protections and keep the 
    development bulldozer charging ahead.  Burris himself is openly the 
    candidate of MBNA and other big businesses.  The funding available to his 
    campaign is illustrated by the thousands of his signs littering 
    Delaware.  For what it's worth, Burris has been more courteous and 
    responsive to Green Delaware than Democratic candidate Ruth Ann 
    Minner.  Lee became well know for his role as the judge in the Tom Capano 
    murder trial.  After that trial, Lee sought a special pension deal from the 
    General Assembly (which he got), resigned from the judiciary, and went 
    after the Republican nomination.  Lee isn't well known to us, but his 
    positions on environmental issues are better than Burris,' and he shows 
    some genuine concern.   Lee "absolutely" supports HB 671, to clean up the 
    sewers, saying "the State should not only not be contributing to the 
    problem, the state should be leading the way to cleaning up the 
    problem."  Amen.

    Burris in the Governor's office, even more than Carper, would be the fox 
    invited into the henhouse.  Lee at least has possibilities.

    Democrat James H.  Sills, Wilmington's first Black mayor, is seeking an 
    unusual 3rd term.  He's opposed by Jim Baker, City Council President for at 
    least 16 years.  We've met with Sills several times about the sewage 
    dumping.  He's courteous, but his administration has stonewalled.  Sills 
    recently claimed that "not enough sewage is going into the rivers to cause 
    any health hazards."  Later, Sills admitted that the City's Long Term 
    Control Plan is "inadequate," but his administration apparently has no 
    plans to offer a better one.  Baker, has been mildly supportive of HB 671 
    and we think he would be more responsive to our concerns.

    Radiation Health Forum at Salem (NJ) Quaker Meetinghouse, 
    September 8th, 7:00 PM.

    Dr. Janette Sherman and Raymond Shadis will be the featured speakers at a 
    Forum on Radiation and Your Health, to be held on Friday, September 8th, at 
    7:00 PM at the Salem Quaker Meetinghouse, Route 49, in Salem NJ.  Sherman 
    will talk about the radiation dangers from Salem and Hope Creek and how 
    radiation is involved as a cause of breast and other cancers. Ray Shadis 
    will talk about how to go about closing a nuke plant down, and the 
    decommissioning issues that follow.

    Dr Janette Sherman specializes in internal medicine and toxicology and is 
    the author of the newly released book: Life's Delicate Balance, Causes and 
    Prevention of Breast Cancer. This new book is a followup to her previous 
    book Chemical Exposure and Disease. Dr. Sherman has practiced since 1970 
    and  is also an adjunct professor at Western Michigan University.  She has 
    authored over 70 articles on toxics, chemicals and radiation. Dr. Sherman 
    will have copies of her new book for purchase and for signing.  Her 
    presentations are compelling and well worth the trip.  Shadis, the other 
    Forum speaker, is the Staff Technical Advisor for the New England Coalition 
    on Nuclear Pollution, and Founder of Maine's Friends of the Coast, the 
    group that led the successful effort to shut down the Maine Yankee Nuclear 
    Plant.  Directions: Cross Delaware Memorial Bridge, take first right (Rte 
    49).  Follow 49 through Pennsville to Salem.  The meetinghouse is just past 
    the traffic light in the center of Salem City.  CONTACT: Norm Cohen 

    Labor Day

    The Labor Day article by Ralph Nader was well received, but Muller's 
    introductory paragraph was not.  Some comments received:

    --"Are we attacking the unions for Labor Day? Good grief!";
    --"... are you proposing that the 'progressive' (i.e. doublespeak for 
    Socialist) government solve all our problems?";
    --"...may I say that I believe it is important to distinguish between labor 
    organizations, as corrupted as most other American institutions, and labor 
    as individuals constituting the largest class of our society and 
    increasingly alienated from it.";
    --"I would have to disagree with your characterization of Delaware as "a 
    strongly anti-union state", at least by current standards;"
    --"some of your assertions are not factual."

    Mea culpa.  Our only intent was to suggest that labor, to move towards 
    Nader's vision, has to reach out to a broader audience.

    Green Delaware Wish List

    Things we need:  Storage building (shed), contributions for our electric car project, more 
    solar panels for office power, volunteers to help with fund raising and mailings and everything else.


Let us know what you think.

Email us at


or contact
Alan J. Muller, Exec. Director
P.O. Box 69
Port Penn, DE 19731
302-834-3466 Voice
302-836-3005 FAX

This page was last updated on September 12, 2000.