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November 18, 2008     Cape Gazette
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November 18, 2008

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cape G00-ette ' VIEWPOINTS TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18- THURSDAY NOVEMBER 20, 2008 Letters )) Continued fTom page 6 and call him a friend and our FMHA organization was better for having him as a constant support- er of our mission. He will be missed. Dr. Ganj Wray Tort Miles Historical Association Letter writer should check his facts carefully Mr. Mervin C. Ward is com- pletely wrong in his assertion that President-elect Barack Obama. would fail a background check for a federal job. I know this for fact as my agency, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, conducts these background checks for the federal government. Just because someone who might be your neighbor and who you may know, either as an ac- quaintance or as a good friend, may have committed a felony 40 years ago, is not a disqualifying factor when applying for a federal job. While th investigators may question you about your associa- tion with the person in question, it would not serve as an overriding factor in deciding whether you will pass the background check. Mr. Ward is just repeating a worn-out, debunked, political ca- nard put forward by the Republi- can Party during this year's elec- tion. His claim smells of sour grapes. Let's look at/.he facts: President-elect Obama was 8 years old when William Ayers was a member of the Weather Under- ground, ru bet that Mr. Obama did not know that Mr. Ayers lived in his neighborhood when he pur- chased his home. We cannot pick who our neighbors are, Mr. Ward. I recommend that Mr. Ward do a little bit more research before stating "facts" in the press. Also, show a little respect when refer- ring to Mr. Obama - your side lost; it's time to move on and to work to get our state and country back on the right track. J. P, ehdh B:h Simpson thanks voters for their support As this election season has fi- nally drawn to a close, I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the voters of the 18th dis- trict for their support by again electing me to the Delaware Sen- ate. I appreciate your confidence, and I recognize the privilege you have given me to represent you and your family in Dover. I prom- ise to work hard in the years ahead to earn your continued confidence. My wife Debbie and I have been truly blessed by a wonderful and talented group of friends who gave so much of their time and energy tliroughout the past sever- al months. We couldn't have done it without their help and en- couragement, and we take this opportunity to again say a very heartfelt "thank you" to each of them. I also want to recognize my op- ponent, Mr. Gary Downes. It takes a lot of courage and com- mitment for a candidate- and his family - to enter a political race, and Mr. Downes is to be congrat- ulated for entering the fray, work- ing hard, and conducting a clean and positive campaign. Negativi- ty should have rio place in the election process and I am happy that the people of the 18th District did not have to witness negative campaigning from either of their Senate candidates. In closing, I want you to know that I appreciate the trust you have shown in me. We may not always agree on every issue, but I am always open to your input. Delaware is truly at a crossroads in our history and we need the collective wisdom of everyone if we are to thrive as a state in the years ahead. So, please call me anytime with your ideas, criti- cisms and suggestions. They are always welcome. Again, many thanks. Miami Everything in the world in process of dying ! have recently reached the age where my generation is passing away. I suddenly realized that Planet Earth seems to be God's graveyard for mankind. Then I read an article in a small newspa- per somewhere that stated the following:. "Worldwide, three people die every second, 180 every minute and nearly 11,000 people every hour, which adds up to approxi- mately 250,000 every day." I also now realize that "every- thing" in this world is in the process of dying. I hope we have a better place to go, because it cer- tainly is going to be very crowded there. Hope to see you there. DNREC must do more to eliminate power plant discharge t was shocking and dis'- I turbing to learn at a De- partment of Natural Re- sources and Environmen- Steve )) Callanen tal Control public hearing on May 29, that 26 years after Deb marva Power and Light Compa- ny ceased dumping coal ash from the Indian River power plant onto Burton Island, 26 of 26 offshore sediment samples were discovered to contain sev- en heavy metal pollutants iden- tiffed as "Constituents of Poten- tial Concern for either human or ecological receptors." These metals include aluminum, ar- senic, barium, cobalt, copper, mercury and nickeL Delaware Toxics Release Inventory Re- ports identify compounds of ar- senic, cobalt and nickel as car- cinogens. An ecological risk as- sessment published by Shaw En- vironmental Inc., in March 2008, states: "there is a potential for adverse affects to benthic inver- tebrates in the sediment along the shoreline of Burton Island due to arsenic and barium. "The only potentially ex- posed population is recre- ational fishermen and their families through the con- sumption of caught fish and/or shellfish." A DNREC environmental sci- entist was asked at a Center for the Inland Bays Sept. 22 meeting if he would eat clams if they ex- ist around Burton Island. He said, "No." From 1957 to 1979, DP&L de- posited ash from the Indian Riv- er electrical generating station on the 144-acre eastern end of low-level Burton Island, which is surrounded by tidal waters of exceptional recreational or eco- logical significance under the state's water quality standards and has impaired waters under the Federal Clean Water Act. In 1976, DPkL, apparently aware of the environmental haz- ards created by the disposal of heavy-metal pollutants on Bur- ton Island, obtained a coastal zone permit for construction of an unlined coal-ash landfill on the mainland adjacent to Island Creek (Phase I). This landfill is now approaching its allowable permitted height ofl00 feet. On Sept. 4, DNREC granted NRG Energy, theplant's owner/opera- tor since 2001, a permit to con- struct a new, improved lined coal-ash landfill (Phase II). Retired Environmental Pro- tection Agency scientist John Austin has reviewed the well sampling data for this landfill site and concluded that, con- trary to statements in the permit application, arsenic levels in monitoring wells have exceeded EPRs Primary Maximum Conta- minant Levels for Drinking Wa- ter and that contamination of groundwater downstream of the existing unlined landfill has ex- ceeded the state's Remediation Standards Guidance under the Delaware Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act. DNREC secretary John Hugh- es has attempted to minimize environmental concerns about the leaching of toxic pollutants into aquifers and bay waters from NRG coal-ash landfills. He has said some of the concerns are unfounded and some of the criticisms are based on misin- formation. Environmental groups inchd- hag the Sierra Club, Delaware Audubon, Green Delaware, Citi- zens for Clean Power, Citizens Coalition, Citizens for a Better Sussex and the Citizens Adviso- ry Committee of the CIB have opposed the issuance of the new NRG (Phase II) landfill permit, and the inadequate voluntary NRG remediation action plan for Burton Island, which con- sists of leaving the contaminated offshore sediment in place and adding riprap along the shore- line. Although the riprap may help to inhibit future erosion of shoreline embankments, the geo-textile synthetic fabric un- derlay base is permeable and therefore will not prevent con- tinued leaching of the landfill's numerous toxic pollutants into bay watem The riprap fails to eliminate the long-term pollu- tion problem, which is exacer- bated by high water levels and wave action during typical nor'easter storms. Why doesn't DNREC require NRG to haul ash from Burton Is- land out of the Inland Bays wa- tershed and deny a permit for the creation of yet another coal- ash landfill? Could political pressure and NRG profits possi- bly be factors in these decisions? Surely the same railroad hop- pers that deliver 64 carloads of coal per day could be used to haul away the annual produc- tion of approximately 100,000 cubic yards of hazardous ash containing 770,000 pounds of toxic heavy metal pollutants. An environmentany safe ben- eficial use for the Indian River power plant's coal ash should be found, which, hopefully, will be far superior to the practice of mixing ash from the Edge Moor power plant with Wilmington wastewater sludge and dumping it on the Pigeon Point Landfill adjacent to the Delaware River- a re-use DNREC experts, and the DNREC secretary, conchd- eel, surprisingly, in August 2008, "does not pose any undue risk to the environment and public health." Until cleaner energy sources enable the shutting down of Delaware's coal-burning power plants, the state's largest pol- luters, DNREC must do more to eliminate and clean-up the con- tinuous power plant discharges of thousands of pounds of harm- ful chemicals to our air, water and land. Steve Callanen is with the Sierra Club, Southern Delaware Group.