Report on May 28, 2009, Newport incinerator meeting ….

A battle won, but the war will continue.

“There is no way we are going to work that this session.”

—House Speaker Bob Gilligan

“The state, however, needs to be careful not to allow cogeneration systems to burn high emission solid fuels.”
–candidate Jack Markell

Green Delaware was well-represented by Marty Denison, Matt Del Pizzo Linda Whaley, and others.  Nice work!  We all thank you.

Everyone seems to agree that the Town of Newport ran the meeting well, giving everyone an opportunity to speak and ask questions.  We called Mayor Spencer to thank him for that.

No one, NO ONE, except the promoters spoke in favor of an incinerator or weakening our laws to allow them.  People either wanted more information, or were already against it, or kept quiet.

Everyone also seems to agree that the burner promoters, Ciba and Intrinergy, made a bad showing.  “They were unprepared” said all parties–public, legislators, town officials.  One caller called it “Amateur Hour.”

Six state legislators were at the meeting: Reps. John Kowalko, Mike Barbieri, Bob Gilligan (House Speaker), Tom Kovach, and Mike Mulrooney, and Sen. Karen Peterson.  Rep. Bob Gilligan point out correctly that this is almost ten percent of the 62 members of the General Assembly.

The promoters are claiming they “just want a little modification” of Delaware’s laws against incineration.  “Intrinergy said EPA studies had verified that biomass plants produce far less heat trapping carbon dioxide and less soot and pollutants than conventional power plants.”  These are out-and-out lies.

They apparently talked about hauling in 10-15 truckloads per day of various “residuals” from a radius of 75 miles.  This can be believed, but the numbers may be a low-ball.

Speaker Gilligan called and said there would be no changes to the incinerator laws in the 13 legislative days remaining before the General Assembly ends on June 30th.  “There is no way we are going to work that this session.”

Some people thought the News Journal story was “balanced.”  Those opinions came from people we think favor the burner.  Another caller said “It hit me in the gut to read such a biased story … I’m angry, nothing Green Delaware said was reported … we deserve better than that.” Yes, we do.  On the other hand, a story as published in The News Journal may be very differenet from what the reporter wrote.

The real concern is that, while nothing may happen before June 30th, Speaker Gilligan and others have made clear that discussions on weakening the laws will be ongoing.

Draft legislation to open Delaware to incinerator pollution has been circulated by heavy-hitter lobbyist Bill Wood.   Curiously, this has not been shared with the public and was not circulated at the Newport meeting?  Why not?  Who is hiding what from the public?

Governor Markell, in his “campaign policy book” Blueprint for a Better Delaware (), wrote:

“The state, however, needs to be careful not to allow cogeneration systems to burn high emission solid fuels.”

Markell got that right during his campaign.  Will he stay right with it now?  Not all the indications are comforting….

Have a nice weekend.

Alan Muller

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