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[GreenYes] Alert 466: Delaware Waste Update: Solid Waste Authority wins again--dump expansion approved

Green Delaware Alert #466
(please post/forward)

Waste Update: Solid Waste Authority wins again:
Cherry Island garbage dump expansion approved

The path of "zero waste" or the path of "trashing Delaware?"
January 7, 2006

Yesterday, Friday, January 6, 2005, the [Governor Ruth Ann] Minner administration apparently granted the Delaware ("Dirty") Solid Waste Authority the full requested increase in the size/height of the Cherry Island garbage dump. This would allow the dump to rise to a height of 195 feet. Earlier a rise to nearly 300 feet had been requested. (We say "apparently" because we haven't seen the actual permit as issued and don't entirely trust a DNREC press-release description of it.) The DNREC press release is at . There are some positive provisions in the permit but they are far from offsetting the basic decision to allow "piling it higher."

Martha Denison, long time civic activist and incineration opponent, said: "It stinks. Delaware needs to be moving towards 'zero waste.' A lot of people are going to suffer."

Susan Regis Collins, of the Let My People Know Coalition in Wilmington, said "This is bad for everybody in Delaware. It's not just a NIMBY issue. We've got to change course."

But that's not all...

On January 10, 2006, the Governor Minner/DNREC "Incineration Team" will hear promotional presentations from at least three garbage incinerator companies. Garbage incineration is effectively illegal in Delaware due to an historic environmental and public health victory. (Any incinerator would add millions of pounds per year of pollutants to already-polluted Delaware air.) Many special interests, lead by the Dirty Authority, want to bring back incineration. This incineration team has no real representatives of the public interest and is effectively controlled by the Dirty Authority. Former DNREC Secretary "Toby" Clark was hired by the Minner administration for $25,000 to run it and produce a report. Clark began the first meeting by talking about "flexibility" among legislators to roll back the anti-incineration laws. See for the official line on this.

But that's not all...

Thursday, January 5, 2006, saw the first meeting of a Common Cause/"Environmentalists for Truth" "task force" described as "environmental" but regarded by many others as a sort of "Incineration Team #2," in effect if not in intent. Green Delaware published its concerns about this group (See Alert 465 at <http:///> and the comments on the front page of our site <http:///>

The response was a wave of venom we have not seen before in the history of Green Delaware. Much of this came from an officer of Common Cause of Delaware. We think the real effect of this "task force," regardless of the good intentions of some participants, is to divide and confuse and distract.

But that's not all...

Not only are deals in progress--and far along, we think--for expanding the Cherry Island garbage dump and for incineration, but also for building ANOTHER garbage dump in lower New Castle County.

But that's not all...

The Editorial Board of The News Journal has run editorial after editorial promoting incineration and questioning the competence and motives of people on the other side, such as Alan Muller and Sen. Dave McBride, a key anti-incineration legislator. At the same time, said Editorial Board refuses to meet with us to hear the other side. The same Editorial Board is promoting the #2 "task force."

Thus, the Dirty Authority is looking at an historic triple victory under Governor Ruth Ann Muller. One that would leave its Garbage Empire poised for unlimited growth while increasing pollution the air and water of Delaware.

How does this come about? (1) The Dirty Authority, using money it doesn't spend to run its facilities properly, employs highly competent PR people (Sam Waltz, etc), lawyers (Mike Parkowski) and lobbyists (Ned and Mary Davis). These people know what they are doing and have intimate connections to Delaware government and media.

Against this, what sort of "environmental community" does Delaware have?

In recent months officials of the Delaware Nature Society, Delaware Audubon Society, The Nature Society, and others have been in meetings with Governor Minner's staff. Explicit agenda items included efforts to reduce the credibility and media exposure of Green Delaware. Did these people tell us what was up? No. But the "Nature" Society indicated its willingness to reconsider incineration.

Is all lost? Not at all.

o There is a widespread understanding in Delaware that recycling is needed and that incineration is harmful;

o People understand that the "Dirty Authority" is ill-run and self-serving;

o Many influential elected officials don't want incineration.

IF informed public opinion prevails, waste management in Delaware will be reformed and the environment and public health will be protected.

But we must fact up to the fact that this is NOT the trajectory Delaware is now on. We are headed in the wrong direction under the influence of special interests.

Let us know what you think Green Delaware should do and whether you are willing to help.


Alan Muller
Green Delaware is a community based organization working on environment and public health issues. We try to provide information you can use. Please use it. Do you want to continue receiving information from Green Delaware? Please consider contributing or volunteering. Reach us at 302.834.3466, greendel@no.address,, Box 69, Port Penn, DE, USA, 19731-0069

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