The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Letters

January 11, 2014

Passion pays off

The tire burner is no more, and it is time to give thanks. On Thursday DEP announced that because National Gypsum has ended its support for the project, Emanuel Tire/En-Tire Logistics’ plans to build a tire-burning plant near Milton have come to an end. That plant would have burned 100 million pounds of tires a year as fuel for National Gypsum’s White Deer wallboard paper factory. That burner would have been one mile from White Deer Elementary School, next to the Susquehanna River and in the middle of our farms and neighborhoods.

With this news, we first want to express our gratitude to the volunteers who fought with such passion against this tire burner. This includes nearly 2,500 people who signed petitions opposing it, including children across our community. It includes Bucknell students who made documentaries about the tire burner, and 160 Bucknell faculty who signed a petition against it. And it includes some 50 dedicated volunteers who worked hard gathering petition signatures, raising awareness, distributing signs and more. These volunteers showed what community spirit means.

Second, we thank the supervisors of White Deer Township. They spent countless hours investigating the tire burner’s plans, listening to community members and evaluating their options. By challenging the tire burner’s plans in court, they showed courage in doing all they could to protect their neighbors and community.

Third, we want to thank Rep. Fred Keller, who showed great leadership in opposing the tire burner publicly. We are grateful for the significant time and energy that he and his staff gave to our cause. Our thanks as well to the Union County Commissioners for all they did to help the public learn about the tire burner.

Fourth, we thank the local news media, particularly The Daily Item, The Milton Standard-Journal and WKOK radio. Their journalists covered this story time and again to keep the public informed about this evolving situation.

Finally, we thank National Gypsum’s leadership for making the right decision. National Gypsum has long been a valuable member of the local business community, and we appreciate their recognizing that burning tires to fuel their plant was a bad idea. We look forward to their continued good citizenship in our area.

We also believe this is an opportune time for our elected leaders to act to prevent this type of business from threatening our community again. We urge other communities to take action now to prevent the same threat we had to battle. Hazardous-waste and tire incinerators should not be possible anywhere.

Without changes to local ordinances, another company will again decide that our rural area is just the place for the type of operation that will threaten rather than build up our communities. Indeed, Emanuel Tire/En-Tire Logistics has already said it will try again to get a new permit to build a tire burner at another site in our area. Every township can promote good jobs while protecting the public. We have learned a lot during this fight, including how ordinances that can do just that. We intend to communicate those ideas to our local elected leaders, and we are counting on them to take the steps necessary to win the next fight before it starts. That would be the best possible news for our community, our children, our river and farms, and the people of our region.

Meanwhile, to everyone who took a stand this time, thank you.

The Tire Team Steering Committee: Dave Jacobson, Pete Mackey, Ben Marsh, Larry Maynard, Leah Schade (Chair), Jennifer Thomson, Amanda Wooden, Dave Young

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