Millsboro chicken plant will have impact

September 19, 2013

It seems of late at every turn we are faced by new impacts from a lack of planning. The conversion of the Vlasic plant in Millsboro into a regional chicken processing center is yet another example. Finding a use for the existing building and jobs seems to be the only concern of local representatives.

Where could 170 truck trips a day compete with beach goers? Who wants to start their stay in the area waiting behind the stench?  The answers are not Route 113 and no one.

Currently, some 200 million birds are produced here in Sussex County annually.  Allen Harim seeks to process 104 million of them and will require some 100 new houses to meet their production goals. Sounds great, but what are the impacts on the existing economy and the environment?

The existing and new Allen Harim suppliers will be producing an estimated 130,000 tons of manure.  Current Delaware Nutrient Management Commission estimates are that the existing operations already produce an excess of 107,346 tons of manure in Sussex County, which would be 239,721 tons if existing soil nutrient levels were considered.

Allen Harim makes this the grower’s problem, but manure management consumed an FY2012 budget just over $1.43 million of state and federal funds for the Nutrient Management Commission’s efforts for planning and relocation. More production. More manure. More tax dollars.  It is everybody’s problem.

Planning no doubt would have found Route 13 better for the traffic and a lesser impact on the tourist economy and tidal streams, but it would require more investment in a new building.

Our county council does not even seek the advice of a planner and our representatives give no meaningful powers to the state planners.  Remember, how concerned they were for you when you go to the polls next time.

John Austin
Rehoboth Beach

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