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[GreenYes] Alert 468: Another big victory for the wasters in Delaware.

Green Delaware Alert #468
(please post/forward)
Another big victory for the dumpers and wasters in Delaware

Delaware Solid Waste Authority gets green light from "Sunset" Committee

Public not allowed to speak ...

"That's what it came down to ... f__k the people's health."

Last night the"Joint Sunset Committee" of the Delaware General Assembly approved the continued existence of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority without making a single official recommendation for improvement.

The Committee has the power to recommend changes, and is supposed to shut down truly non-performing agencies.

The Delaware Sunset Act was passed in very different times--times of political reform when the public interest was on the mind of elected officials--and is well worth reading, if only to get a sense of how much ground has been lost. See

Community organizations had requested a "review" of the Authority under the Sunset Act. Many asked that the agency be terminated ("sunsetted").

In three years of proceedings, the Sunset Committee consistently dissed public testimony, sucked up to the DSWA, and even "snuck off" quietly to visit a Pennsylvania garbage incinerator, illegal in Delaware.

For background see, for example, Alert 317, "Delaware's Joint Sunset Committee insults public, ignores law," at .

This was a huge victory for the self-serving, much-criticized agency, coming on the heels of the recent approval by state officials of a requested expansion of the notorious Cherry Island garbage dump in the city of Wilmington. See Alert 466 at

Green Delaware's written request to speak was denied. Nor were any members of the public were allowed to speak. Testimony from the (politically controlled) Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) opposed a state takeover of the quasi-independent Solid Waste Authority.

Martha Denison of the Civic League for New Castle County said: "It's totally appalling. We aren't being treated like citizens at all." "The decision not to let the public speak was a travesty. Sen. Copeland, who is on the 'citizens task force,' and is supposed to be helping us, should have spoken up." Denison was also disturbed that no New Castle County officials appeared to represent their constituents' concerns.

Don Farrell, Wilmington activist and the only person of color in the room, said: "Senator Copeland said the [Cherry Island] dump is well run and he admires the 'business model' of the Authority. I guess he doesn't live around the dump." [Senator Copeland, related to the DuPont family, lives far from the dump.] Farrell continued "That's what it came down to ...f__k the people's health."

Afterwards, Authority officials smiled happily and talked about going to the "Lobby House" restaurant to celebrate. Board Member Toby Ryan thanked Rep. John Viola for his support. Authority CEO Pat Canzano and DNREC Air and Waste Director Jim Werner--two of the most unreliable officials we have ever met--gave an endearing public display of affection. Authority public relations consultant Sam Waltz looked especially pleased. (Waltz had his employees and clients send in "public comment" letters supporting increased dumping.)

Impending progress...

One committee member, Sen. David Sokola, reportedly said the committee didn't take any real action because the agency is "making progress." It certainly is: Coming up on the agenda is a rollback of Delaware laws against incineration.

The committee acted to support the DSWA by an (apparently) unanimous voice vote:

Sen. George Bunting (spoke at length in favor of the Waste Authority)
Sen. Charlie Copeland (wanna-be governor and member of "citizens" waste task force)
Rep. Deborah Hudson
Sen. Robert Marshall (Vice-chair and loyal servant of the Authority)
Rep. Mike Mulrooney
Rep. Bill Oberle (Chair of committee. Has promised improvement but it's not visible.)
Rep. Bob Valihura (Val. seemed a bit uncomfortable with what was happening)
Rep. John Viola
Sen. David Sokola (Sokola is a legislator many would expect better of.)


Rep. Helene Keeley (Of Wilmington. left before the vote)
Sen. Colin Bonini (Is almost always absent from Sunset Committee meetings)

Commentary from Green Delaware:

Elected officials act like this when they are more afraid of special interests than they are of the voters. The remedy for this seems obvious but is difficult to implement on our little plantation.

Government in Delaware is in a meltdown comparable to what is happening at the national level under Bush. The public interest is submerged in a feeding frenzy of special interest scumbaggery. For environmental and public health advocates, this is obviously a tough time.

The meltdown of waste policy is aided, as we see it, by a "citizens" task force described in Alert 565 ( and other comments posted at

Does this mean that all the members of this "task force" have bad intentions? No. A standard tactic of community manipulation is to co-opt and distract the susceptible, and to marginalize those who know what they are doing.

This "task force" seems similar to the "Community Advisory Panels" set up by industrial facilities to manipulate their neighbors.

This is no time for concerned citizens to panic or give up. The answer is always the same: "Don't mourn,...Organize!"


Call each of the committee members and let them know how unhappy you are with their decision. Contact information is at:
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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