Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Do YOU want a trash to ethanol plant nearby? PROTEST! Go to Limerick's township meeting Thursday evening!

I received this information in email yesterday regarding a proposal to change Limerick township's zoning ordinances to allow "allow multiple
energy plants within a mile from the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant."*

We are directly downwind and down river from the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant. What affects the area to our northwest will affect us, also.

I will be posting additional information to this thread and I urge you to research trash to ethanol plants. Learn if this proposal is something you want in your backyard!

I would like to get the word out as much as possible so that
others can voice their opinion. Below is a letter from Elaine Milito
with more information, including a link to more information and a
petition to sign. Please pass on this information. Not long ago,
residents fought off a proposed casino. Hopefully they can do it

- Residents of East Vincent Township and Surrounding Areas,

I want to alert you to an important upcoming event in Limerick
Township. On Thursday, January 24, at 7PM, there will be a hearing
to amend the Limerick Township Zoning Ordinance to *allow multiple
energy plants within a mile from the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant.

There have been several articles in the Mercury and some letters to
the editor concerning this matter. There is also a "Trash to Ethanol
Plant" being considered, which is directly across the river from
Parkerford and very close (a mile?) to the Limerick Nuclear Power
Plant. These plants will produce negative effects on our air, our
water, and our health!

Please look at the Concerned Citizens website http://ccoev.org to
find out about what you can do, including signing a petition.

Zoning Hearing in Limerick Township

January 24, 2008 - 7 PM

Limerick Township Building, 646 West Ridge Pike

Tuesday on PCTV, Channel 28, 7 to 8 P.M. there will be a show on air
pollution, health impacts, and Limerick's proposed trash-to-ethanol

Elaine Milito

President, CCOEV


Karen said...

From Elaine Milito's group's website:


Zoning Hearing in Limerick Township

January 24, 2008 at 7 PM

Limerick Township Building, 646 West Ridge Pike

Tuesday on PCTV, Channel 28, 7 to 8 P.M. there will be a show on air pollution, health impacts, and Limerick's proposed trash-to-ethanol plant.

This affects the residents of East Vincent Township!

It is right across the river from Parkerford.

It affects ALL residents surrounding the Limerick area.

Sign the Petition

It appears that Limerick is interested in being able to have multiple energy plants in their township. There have been several articles in the Mercury and some letters to the editor concerning this. The Trash to Ethanol Plant being considered is directly across the river from Parkerford and very close (a mile?) from the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant. The zoning change is just a first step in the process but of course each step gets you closer to the finish line.

The Zoning Change:

To create a new district, Heavy Industrial and Energy (HI/E) in several areas (341 acres) currently zoned HI.

Overturn a previous requirement that a public utility must be separated from any other electrical facility by one mile, measured from the nearest property line.

Overturn a previous requirement that an applicant must use a consultant from a list of three firms designated by the township.
Will contribute to a regional energy production and use. (The former Linfield Industrial Park would be converted into an energy plant, not known what kind). This site has been declared a hazardous site by DEP.

Includes a provision to permit solid waste disposal facilities.
In this proposed zoning there is NO reference to air pollution, water contamination, or public health.

Claims by Limerick Supervisors:

The property lines of the Limerick Generating Station are within one mile from the property lines of all other parcels in the HI district, therefore, the current ordinance is exclusionary.

This change has nothing to do with a proposed Trash to Ethanol plant but comes out of an ongoing study of the Comprehensive Plan.

The 125- acre Publicker property (former Kinsey Distillery) is not included in the zoning change area. There is a proposal to build a Trash to Ethanol plant on this property which is currently in the H1 district. (Over 1 mile from Limerick. Contradiction?). This plant would generate energy in two ways: turning trash into ethanol fuel through a superheated process and generating power via an electric turbine plant fueled by natural gas.

Possible Effects:

Noxious odors- A major problem around ethanol plants, yet there is NO reference to odors in zoning.

Hazardous Air Pollution – A serious health threat from ethanol plants - yet totally ignored in the ordinance. Dioxin will be released into the air ---Causes cancer.

Water Use – Ethanol plants need 3 to 4 gallons of water for every gallon of ethanol produced. Yet there is no determination of how much water can be removed from the ground or from where?

Water Contamination – Millions of gallons of hazardous waste water will be produced each year, yet there is no reference as to how much is permitted into the sewer system. Where will the wastewater water go?

Noise – Zoning allows noise levels up to 60dBA between 7:00 AM and 10 PM

According to recent testimony from DEP Sec McGinty, PA currently exports 20% of the energy we produce to other states. Most likely this would be exported as well.

Heavy traffic from out of state trash trucks.

No plant of this kind ever constructed yet. Complete impacts are unknown.

Job generation data deceiving -- many times specialized labor is imported. Construction jobs are a short term bonus.

What other revenue generating options has the township seriously explored that are sustaining and nonpolluting?

Actions you can take:

Come and make a presentation against the zoning change, Thursday night 1/24 Limerick township building.

Bring a friend.

Write the Environmental Protection Agency to request a full
Environmental Impact Statement.

Email: http://www.epa.gov/region03/gencomment.htm

Sample Letter

(You can Copy and Paste if emailing)

Write to your township, county commissioners, state senator and state representatives and the governor and ask them to oppose these actions.

Contact Information

Pass this e-mail onto friends.

Sign the Petition!

Mercury Article 10/15/2007
Mercury Article 12/26/2007
Mercury Article 1/21/2008
Letter to the Editor 1
Letter to the Editor 2
Letter to EPA from ACE
Local Schools Impacted
Expert Testimony on Ethanol Plants

NOTE: Clickable links at website:

Karen said...

The following information was received from ACE, the Alliance for a Clean Environment.


Public Hearing, January 24, 2008,
7:00 P.M.

Township Building, 646 West Ridge Pike

Your health, safety, and quality of life could be further jeopardized by a vote that will be taken on zoning changes in Limerick Township, immediately following a public hearing, January 24, 2008, 7:00 P.M. Limerick Township Building, 646 West Ridge Pike. If approved, it’s basically the same as approving the proposed trash-to-ethanol plant and natural gas plant.

Proposed zoning changes in Limerick will impact the entire region. If you live in Limerick, in surrounding communities, or in downwind, downstream communities, you should attend this public hearing and speak out against zoning approval for open-ended hazardous threats to your family. Don’t let Limerick Supervisors deny your right to protect your family’s future.

The January 4 legal ad in the Mercury shows Limerick Supervisors could choose to design an ordinance consistent with the PA Constitution to protect your air, water, and health, yet in this proposed zoning there is NO reference to air pollution, water contamination, or public health.

Zoning Section (g) Unforeseeable impact, suggests Limerick Supervisors plan to allow energy plants to do whatever they want, without knowing the impact, but allowing the township to bear the lion’s share of the burden, after the fact. Does this sound like responsible government to you, to zone for the absolute unknown and to subject families to unidentified threats and risks?

This zoning change would allow for a trash-to-ethanol plant, yet fails to address inherent threats.

For example:

Noxious odors- A major problem around ethanol plants, yet there is NO reference to odors in zoning.

Hazardous Air Pollution – A serious health threat from ethanol plants - yet totally ignored.

Water Use – Ethanol plants need 3 to 4 gallons of water for every gallon of ethanol produced. Yet there is no determination of how much water can be removed from the ground.

Water Contamination – Millions of gallons of hazardous waste water will be produced each year, yet there is no reference as to how much is permitted into the sewer system.

Noise – Zoning allows noise levels up to 60dBA between 7:00 AM and 10 PM

Proposed rezoning completely ignores unprecedented threats from allowing dangerous energy plants too close to Limerick Nuclear Power Plant.

Limerick taxpayers beware! Zoning Section (g) admits the concept of a private utility is entirely new and ramifications are unknown, yet states taxpayers will bear any and all burdens associated with hosting such a use. Limerick taxpayers would be obligated to pay all costs over $500,000, which could potentially be tens or hundreds of millions as a result of environmental degradation associated with such uses. Examples: Occidental’s lagoon removal will cost up to $30 Million. Merck was just fined $20 million for polluting water.

The ethanol industry has a history of accidents involving explosions, fires, and spills. All could cause serious health and environmental threats, resulting in astronomical costs. Yet, zoning changes ignore accountability of the industry for these costs. Proposed zoning addresses only emergency service impact, leaving taxpayers vulnerable.

If rezoned as proposed, Limerick Supervisors will use this zoning as an excuse to fail to stop dangerous projects that further jeopardize the region’s residents.

Speak up at the public hearing January 24th.

For more information contact ACE (610) 326-6433.

ACE Board of Directors

Karen said...

I found this interesting tidbit at Energy Justice.


Water Use and Pollution
For each gallon of ethanol produced, typical ethanol plants consume 3.5 to 6 gallons of water 22 and produce 12 gallons of sewage-like effluent in the fermentation and distillation process.23 Syrup, batches of bad ethanol, and sewage are dumped into streams, threatening fish and plants with chloride, copper and other wastes which deprive waters of oxygen when they decompose. A state inspector in Iowa reported that a creek next to the ethanol plant in Sioux Center was milky and smelled like sewage.24

It's OUR Schuylkill River, too!

Should this be the same method employed at a plant nearby, logically, I would suspect that the costs will rise of cleaning the water WE draw from the Schuylkill!

How much of such contaminents could be removed before the water reaches our taps?

Karen said...

Want some cryptosporidium with that water??

This information is also from the Energy Justice website.

"Magnets for Corporate Factory Farms

the waste by-products of ethanol production is a corn mash. The large volumes of this waste product have to go somewhere. Ethanol plant operators – to save costs – seek to use this as animal feed, regardless of whether it’s nutritious and appropriate for such use. Iowa – the nation’s #1 state for ethanol plants – is seeing a large influx of corporate dairy operations now. Researchers have also found ways to produce hog feed with 30-40% gluten (ethanol plant protein mash).

Ethanol plants could sever as magnets for attracting factory farms."

Factory farms? Picture massive farms upstream with herds of cattle.

Read this pdf file on emerging health issues, in this case, cryptosporidosis.


Karen said...

If you're thinking that the Fed's will come in and take a stand for your right to clean air, read this article regarding California. And, please note that Pennsylvania is affected by this denial, also.


Federal Denial of the Right to Cleaner Air: A Look Under the Hood
By Simona Perry
t r u t h o u t | Report

Tuesday 22 January 2008

On January 2, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) sent a letter to the Office of the Inspector General of the Environmental Protection Agency asking for an investigation into the decision-making process leading to denial of a Clean Air Act preemptive waiver to the State of California. The senator specifically called on the inspector general's office to investigate meetings and correspondence between White House officials, industry representatives, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson and his staff, prior to the decision.

Technical or legal analysis supporting the EPA's decision to deny the Clean Air Act waiver has yet to be produced. The decision undercuts state and local efforts to improve local air quality and respond to the immediate threat of climate change in a timely manner. And, the gravity of EPA's decision lies not just in the denial of California's right to implement stricter air quality standards via more stringent control of greenhouse gas emissions, but in the fact this also denies a Clean Air Act waiver in 14 other states - Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. All of these states have adopted regulations identical to California's in an effort to improve local air quality and reduce the health consequences and global warming impacts of carbon dioxide emissions. The EPA's decision denies the right to cleaner air across the US, and stalls efforts to combat global warming.

State and regional efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide, were first called a "patchwork of regulations" by automobile, energy and business interests, and later referred to as "patchwork" by the White House in statements supporting a nationwide energy bill. This rhetoric of "patchwork regulations" versus national regulations is now being used by the EPA in its refusal to grant states the right to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.

Clearly not a "patchwork," these state regulations and regional strategies would apply the same standards to new automobiles, and would serve as the only means of curbing local air pollution and stopping global warming in the absence of political will at the federal level. A working group of EPA's own Clean Air Act Advisory Council recommended, in a July 2007 report on air quality management, "a one-size-fits-all requirement" for improving air quality cannot be justified and "multiple programs should be pursued simultaneously."

A lack of technical and legal analysis and clear privileging of corporate rhetoric raises suspicions that politics, not science, has been the determining factor in EPA's latest decision. Since 2000, EPA decisions have repeatedly been called into question by members of Congress, environmental groups, ethics watchdogs and former agency officials for being unduly influenced by corporate interests and White House officials.

"Different Programs, Different Purposes"

Auto industry interests are clearly implicated in the EPA's denial of California's request to implement its own greenhouse gas emission standards. In a Congressional Research Service report on California's waiver request from October of last year, both the auto industry and the Department of Transportation were singled out as opposing the granting of the Clean Air Act waiver to California.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers told the EPA, during a public hearing on the waiver request in May 2007, that there would be effectively no difference between California and federal emission standards in their impact on criteria air pollutants, and that the benefits of the greenhouse gas regulations would be "zero." Contrary to this, the California Air Resources Board issued a technical assessment comparing the proposed California standards to the new federal standards set in the 2007 Energy Bill. This analysis shows that by 2016 the state standards would reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions by 17 million metric tons (MMT) of carbon dioxide, 77 percent more than the 8 MMT reduction produced by the federal standards in the 2007 Energy Bill. In addition, the state standards would yield an equivalent fuel economy of 44 mpg by 2020 as compared to the new federal standard of 35 mpg by 2020. If adopted by all 50 states, the cumulative benefits of the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from these more stringent emission standards would also be greater than those of the new federal standards.

The Bush administration has touted Executive Order 13432 and the "Twenty in Ten" plan as the way forward in reducing domestic gasoline consumption by 20 percent over the next ten years, thus ensuring energy independence and security for the nation. The White House proposes to do this through increased cooperation between the Department of Transportation, Department of Energy and the EPA on regulating greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, tax incentives for research and development on alternative fuels, and greater reliance on domestic fossil fuel reserves coupled with a gradual reduction in fossil fuel consumption. E.O. 13432 ensures the Department of Transportation has joint decision-making power in regulating automobile emissions. The goals of both E.O. 13432 and "Twenty in Ten" are to reduce fuel consumption while securing domestic energy independence. The goal is not to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

In November of last year, Administrator Johnson testified before the Congressional Oversight Committee, that "Twenty in Ten" and recent court rulings finding the EPA responsible for regulating carbon dioxide will guide the EPA in the development of new regulations for automobiles, or "mobile sources," in late 2007. However, in this same testimony Johnson said because the EPA has not yet established ambient air quality standards for carbon dioxide, classified carbon dioxide, or otherwise regulated carbon dioxide to date, it is still not considered a "regulated pollutant" under the Clean Air Act. This testimony was given at a hearing on the climate change impacts of new coal-fired power plants, not specifically on new automobile emissions, making the similarities between the regulation of stationary sources of carbon dioxide and "mobile sources" very clear. And, the EPA's refusal to regulate either source was also made clear. The EPA never delivered on Johnson's statement that proposed regulations for automobile emissions would be published in late 2007.

Instead, the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act was signed into law on December 19. It sets a new national target for fleet average fuel economy standards (CAFE standards) on new passenger cars and light trucks at 35 mpg no sooner than 2011 and no later than 2020. The bill directs the Department of Transportation, not EPA, to set this target and determine the appropriate phase-in schedule to achieve this goal. As with the White House "Twenty in Ten" plan, the purpose is to reduce fuel consumption and increase energy independence, not to explicitly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. EPA's role is to monitor the industry and ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act. However, in the absence of federal regulations on carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide emissions will remain unregulated and unmonitored by EPA under the 2007 Energy Bill.

In contrast to the Energy Bill, the California standards that are the subject of the EPA's waiver denial are not for the sole purpose of fuel economy and energy independence. Instead, the standards California proposes, and which 17 other states are set to adopt, sets greenhouse gas emission standards not only on automobiles but also on air conditioning systems. In testimony during the Senate field hearing in Los Angeles last Friday, Mary Wright, chair of California's Air Resources Board, emphasized this difference: "The California standards regulate greenhouse gas emissions; federal CAFE standards are aimed at reducing the nation's fuel consumption. These are different programs addressing different problems."

Possible White House Involvement

In July 2007, before the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, Johnson had said, "The Agency is performing a rigorous analysis in order to properly consider the legal and technical issues that we must address in making a decision under the Clean Air Act waiver criteria."

In his December 19 letter to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denying the waiver, Administrator Johnson cited no legal or technical analysis as the basis for the denial. Instead, he cited the Energy Independence and Security Act that had been signed that same day, and "the global nature of the problem of climate change" in making the need for California regulations unnecessary. The letter said, "I have found that California does not have a 'need to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions.' Accordingly, I have decided that EPA will be denying the waiver and have instructed my staff to draft appropriate documents setting forth the rationale for this denial in further detail and to have them ready for my signature as soon as possible."

The day following Administrator Johnson's announcement California's waiver request had been denied, both Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California), chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, opened investigations into the EPA decision. The EPA was to respond to these requests for internal documents no later than January 7 and January 10.

Two weeks ago, Senator Boxer informed state officials and attendees at a Senate field hearing on the matter that the requested date for receipt of the decision documents had passed, and still no documents had arrived from the EPA. The documents requested included all communications between EPA and White House staff and EPA and automobile industry representatives. In his testimony, California Attorney General Jerry Brown, called on Congress to subpoena federal officials to speed up the release of legal and technical documents related to the decision and "uncover real corruption," stemming from what he referred to as "a bunch of scofflaws in the White House."

Congress is now calling on the EPA to develop a schedule for submitting all documents and for producing seven EPA officials for interviews. Specifically, these EPA officials, from the Offices of the Administrator, Air and Radiation, Transportation and Air Quality, Atmospheric Programs and Program Analysis and Review, are requested for interview without agency counsel. The conduct by the Administrator is under investigation, so only private counsel will be allowed.

Let the Courts Decide

On January 2, in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, two separate petitions against the EPA and Administrator Johnson were filed. One by the state of California and the 14 other states that have adopted the new greenhouse gas emission standards, and another by the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Conservation Law Foundation and International Center for Technology Assessment. Both of these appeals not only ask for the court to compel a reversal of the EPA decision, but they also ask for close scrutiny into the decision-making process used by the EPA in denying the waiver. The states, environmental groups and most observers believe the court will reverse the EPA decision and pave the way for states to more stringently and broadly regulate greenhouse gas emissions. However, it remains to be seen how far the court will pursue, how much the inspector general will uncover, or how courageous Congress will be, in investigating executive pressure and malfeasance in placing politics and corporate interests above science, law and the nation's right to cleaner air.


Simona Perry is currently finishing her PhD research into the politics and sociology of environmental restoration and hazardous waste clean-ups. She previously served as a biologist and policy analyst with the federal government, conducting research and writing regulations and policy documents on endangered species. She is an assistant editor at Truthout.


Anonymous said...

Zoning Hearing in Limerick Township
January 24, 2008 at 7 PM
Limerick Township Building, 646 West Ridge Pike

Limerick Township will still be holding the hearing tonight on its proposed zoning change! If the zoning is changed tonight any power plant, including the Trash to Ethanol Plant, will have easy access to the Publicker site where this plant is being proposed. The two clauses being removed from The HI district leave no restrictions on public or private plants at the Publicker site which will remain in the HI district.

In addition, the creation of the new HI/E district, within the current HI district, and surrounding the nuclear plant has removed the original condition requiring a power plant to be within one mile of the nuclear plant and has removed the whole clause concerning Community Impacts.

The petition requests the Supervisors to wait until they have thoroughly studied the health and safety issues involved with this plan and to definitely wait for the results of an Environmental Impact study before changing the ordinance.

Please come this evening with your comments, and sign the petition requesting further study of the reasons for and the consequences of this ordinance change.