House Bill 270 makes sense, but what about the polluters?

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am writing you these comments since I will not be able to attend the Hearing on HB-270.

Where I live in Millsboro is a little-known burb known as Possum Point.  We have been fighting for clean water here in Sussex County since 2013, long before HB-270 was in existence.

No one in our Government has paid any attention to us with our concerns.

Our main focus has been on eliminating discharges from poultry processing plants into the Indian River which is in our back yard and contamination of the land due to the spraying of effluent from cleaning chickens onto the land next to our homes.

Both of these are known to have a major effect on the environment and public health, regardless of what Representative Rich Collins thinks.

I believe that you all are familiar with the Mountaire poultry plant’s situation in Millsboro and should be aware of the numerous violations to our environmental laws by them and the Allen/Harim poultry group.

I have no idea why our state’s representatives and Department of Natural Resources and Sussex County Council seem to ignore the environmental problems we have been complaining about for years.

As you focus on all the aspects of “Clean Water…A Clear Choice” for the citizens of Delaware, I am perplexed as to why there is no focus on an industry that has a proven track record of “Contaminated Water…A Clear Choice.” Shouldn’t this be included in your bill?

I know that many of you on this committee are 100 percent for the farming industry which is very important to the state. We at Protecting our Indian River are also 100 percent for the farmers as we know they are an essential part of Delaware’s economy.  But what is missing in the whole concept of “Clean Water….A Clear Choice” is the effect that the industrial community has on keeping with the concept of clean water.

Just because a person is on a private well, pays their taxes and cares about clean water, does that mean that they are not entitled to clean water?

Here in Possum Point most of our wells are so contaminated with nitrates and other contaminates, our water is not safe to drink, and we have to use bottled water.

How did our water become contaminated?  Well, a letter sent to DNREC from the now closed Vlasic pickle plant in 1991 noted that they have a contamination problem at their site and the contamination is moving towards our homes in Possum Point.

What did DNREC do?  Absolutely nothing, we were never informed, and the problem has never been corrected.

So, what does the future hold for us?

Another poultry industry polluter, spraying effluent from cleaning chickens on the ground that is already contaminated and with the Indian River a mere few hundred yards from their spray fields, where is the concept of “Clean Water….A Clear Choice” come in?

The bill as written makes sense and I agree with most of it and the need for clean water, but what about the polluters? Where is their charge for the problems that they have caused?  What is the state of Delaware going to kick in to this fund? How is the Department of Natural Resources going to protect us when big industry wants to do their processing right next to a housing development and school and a recreational river? It’s going to cost me and my wife $80, yet someone like Mountaire and Allen/Harim who are causing the problems are going to be charged $45 when they renew their business license?  Hello? Is anybody thinking?

Where are we on the list for clean water? I am 71 years old, will I be dead before I am able to drink the water from my faucet?

I think the bill is vague and needs something in it with a strong message to polluters and industry in general.

For example, Allen/Harim and Mountaire poultry have many, many violations and are $billion dollar$ companies, they have a stake in providing clean water for Delaware, how can you allow them to get off so easy when they are some of the main reasons for these problems?

On the internet I see fines that are levied against some of these company’s anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000, this is a drop in the bucket for these guys and you know it. The law needs to be changed to make the fines be more than just a slap on the wrist for the violations for contamination and the fine go to the Clean Water Fund instead of a general fund.

Thank you and I hope you consider and think about my comments.

Editor’s Note: Jay Meyer, a member of Protecting Our Indian River, resides in Possum Point in Millsboro, Delaware.

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