Cape Gazette editorial supports wrong side

October 18, 2022

The Oct. 14 Cape Gazette editorial criticizes those who oppose the Bioenergy Devco poultry waste processing plant. Those people oppose its ground, water and air pollution, as well as its production of methane (natural gas), which leaks all the way from production site to site of use. Far from being the clean energy solution its producers advertise it to be, methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases, and should be phased out of the energy equation, not increased. Further, why should Sussex County be the location for processing not only its poultry waste, but also thousands of truckloads/year from other states, causing even more air pollution and road deterioration? What about explosion risk in the project’s refinery? What about people in the neighborhood? If you’re looking for an excellent example of environmental injustice, this scheme is it!

There is so much poultry industry waste!  So, whose responsibility is that? Doesn’t it make sense that the companies that create and profit from the current production system and generate an economy dependent on the poultry industry provide the solution to their pollution? Why should anyone else be responsible? Delaware has a long history of allowing industry to create all kinds of environmental nightmares from its pollutants and to walk away from responsibility to prevent them and/or correct them. These toxins and noxious wastes have been released into the environment, and the burden has been passed on to society in general. That’s what has brought us to now, when Delaware is No. 1 in the USA for contaminated waterways, and No. 2 in new cases of cancer. Responsibility should be squarely placed on the perpetrators.

Surely there are solutions throughout the poultry industry to decrease and safely manage its waste products without creating more pollution. Of course they will cost money, so either the profit margin will fall or the consumer cost will increase. This Bioenergy Devco scheme is attractive to the poultry industry because it yields a profitable product without accountability for its additional pollution. The point is that the industry itself and its consumers should be responsible for preventing/cleaning up its environmental damage. Why should the Delaware public and future generations be victimized yet again?

In the meantime, our county and state agencies are officially charged with protecting the environment and the health of current and future Delawareans. So far they have been largely missing in action on this matter. Sussex County Planning & Zoning and Sussex County Council OK’d the Bioenergy Devco project unanimously! In an agricultural/residential zone! Would you want to live near this plant?

It’s time for those who sought election and appointment to these responsible positions to stand up and stop chickening out! The ball is now in Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s court. The virtual public hearing Wednesday, Oct. 26 ( will be the public’s opportunity to demand our rights and our children’s rights to a clean and safe environment.

Let’s show up!

Jeanette Akhter
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