I am very concerned about the tire burner that has been tentatively approved by DEP for White Deer Township. I am a property owner in Delaware Township and the proximity is one of the reasons why I am so concerned. Some of my other concerns are the total disregard En-Tire, National Gypsum, DEP, and the White Deer Township supervisors have for the people of this Valley.
All of our elected officials have known about this incinerator for the last two years (even though they will try to convince us that they just found out about it) and they did nothing to educate or inform the people, especially the ones who live the closest to the location of proposed construction.
I was at the meeting DEP held in Allenwood on May 2 and it boggles the mind at the extent to which corporations and politicians will go to keep their constituents ill-informed or not informed at all on matters that are of critical importance to them and their health and well-being.
This incinerator will pollute our air. The panel of "experts" from En-Tire, National Gypsum and DEP admitted that it would not improve our air quality but would, in fact, make it worse. They are not even aware how tires are made or what they are made of chemically. All they know is "rubber." Since they are so uninformed how are we supposed to trust them when they tell us that this incinerator that is spewing tons of toxic fumes into our air is harmless?
National Gypsum even went so far as to say they are trying to get away from fossil fuels when in their very own information sheet it says this burner will burn shredded tires and/or natural gas, both of which are fossil fuels. When I questioned National Gypsum about this statement they seemed surprised and told me that natural gas is simply a back-up fuel for when the tires are low or something goes wrong with the facility.
Tires are a petroleum product which is a fossil fuel. Now his statement of a back-up for when something goes wrong is not filling me with warm fuzzies either. It seems like it's not a matter of "if" but "when" something goes wrong. Since there is an elementary school and nursing home so close by, are they going to provide gas masks for all these people when there is an accident at this plant? And what about the people of New Columbia? They will all need clean, fresh air to breathe also.
The most telling thing of the whole evening was the fact that we sat there for an hour listening to them tell us how this incinerator will be totally harmless and will be this wonderful additional to our neighborhood. But when it was our turn to speak they all left. We were preaching to the choir. They didn't even have the common courtesy to listen to our concerns.
After the meeting there was an article in the paper proclaiming the accolades of the local politicians for getting a 45-day extension on the public comment period, which is good but in no way lets the politicians off the hook for trying to keep us in the dark when they knew every step of the way what was coming. DEP is also not off the hook. Its mission statement says "The Department of Environmental Protection's mission is to protect Pennsylvania's air, land and water from pollution and to provide for the health and safety of its citizens through a cleaner environment." When you stop and think about it this is ridiculous. The joke is on us.