CHESTER - The Chester City Planning Commission will be considering a proposal at their 5pm meeting
today which will pave the way for 20 to 30 years of trash trains from New York City coming to be burned in Covanta's trash incinerator on Chester's waterfront -- the largest trash incinerator in the nation.
The proposal on today's agenda is "to construct a 15,000 sq. ft. Rail Box Building, 1,000 Sq. ft. Office Building and a Truck Scale" at the Covanta facility on Highland Ave in Chester. The actual proposal has not yet been released to the public.
This is one step in the process to enable delivery by rail of trash from New York City, according to a contract that Covanta made with the NYC Department of Sanitation in July 2013. The contract runs for 20 years with two 5-year renewal options, and splits 800,000 tons of waste per year between Covanta incinerators in Chester, PA and Niagara Falls, NY. Niagara Falls residents first brought this to the attention of Chester residents last year, and have set up a StopBurningTheFalls.com as part of their effort to block a rail spur for the trash trains from New York City.
The meeting starts at
"Chester is already home to the nation's largest trash incinerator, adding a lot of toxic pollution to the unhealthy air we already live with," says Kaya Banton, Youth Organizer for the Energy Justice Network and the Chester Environmental Justice group. "Locking in 20 to 30 years of New York City waste burning is adding insult to injury. Enough is enough."
"This filthy incinerator must be shut down, not propped up for another generation. Chester has done more than its share as a regional dumping ground," says Carole Burnett, founding member of the DelCo Alliance for Environmental Justice and resident of Chester's industrialized west end.
"There are too many unanswered questions with this proposal," states Mike Ewall of the Philadelphia-based national Energy Justice Network, who has been supporting the environmental struggles of Chester residents for two decades. "In Niagara Falls, Covanta asked for six times the capacity they need, and won local approvals without local officials realizing the overcapacity. Will Covanta also be turning Chester into a regional trash transfer facility with no benefit to Chester?"
Residents will be asking the Planning Commission to postpone this decision until the application and related documents are made available and the public and commission have the time to properly review the long-term consequences of this major project.
Energy Justice Network ( www.energyjustice.net) is a national support network for communities fighting dirty energy and waste facilities, primarily coal, natural gas and incineration.
DelCo Alliance for Environmental Justice and Chester Environmental Justice ( www.ejnet.org/chester/) are county and local groups working to oppose pollution in the City of Chester, Delaware County, PA.
Chester City Planning Commission June 2014 meeting agenda: http://www.ejnet.org/chester/2014-06-CCPC-Agenda.pdf
Covanta Contract with New York City: http://www.energyjustice.net/files/incineration/covanta/NYC-Covanta-contract.pdf
Problems with Incineration: http://www.energyjustice.net/files/incineration/trashincineration.pdf