A moral call to oppose biogas project

October 21, 2022

The Cape Gazette editorial published Oct. 14 portrayed Bioenergy Devco’s proposal for Seaford as an answer to managing poultry waste in Delaware. On the contrary, factory farm biogas will do nothing to aid our poultry waste overload and everything to further entrench both factory farms and fossil fuel infrastructure in our communities. It will pollute and degrade air, water and soil, perpetuate environmental injustice, and further entrench damaging forms of industrial agriculture.

Delaware Interfaith Power & Light, a faith-based environmental nonprofit, is part of the coalition opposing this proposal along with many other environmental and social justice organizations like Food & Water Watch, Delaware Chapter Sierra Club, Delaware Working Families Party, etc. We believe it is a textbook case of environmental racism to propose this industrial refinery in a marginalized, migrant residential community in Seaford, and it's our moral responsibility to stand with our neighbors in opposing it. 

On Oct. 6, Delaware IPL held an info session on biogas that was attended by several faith leaders, elected officials and concerned citizens. The Rev. Canon Martha Kirkpatrick, an Episcopal priest, summed it up well: “Faith leaders and Delaware citizens have a right to expect that every public policy decision moves us in a positive direction around our major goals, specifically: the continued improvement and health of our air and water; continued progress in the reduction of greenhouse gasses and addressing climate change; and continued progress in ensuring a just and fair society for all of our residents. Bioenergy Devco’s proposal currently before DNREC moves us in the wrong direction in all three of these major public policy areas. It creates a significantly greater risk to Delaware waters by increased poultry waste spreading, a known and significant contributor to nitrate pollution. It increases the production of methane gas, a known and serious greenhouse gas. And finally, it puts the health of the neighboring low-income Haitian and Latinx communities at risk, communities facing language and economic barriers that severely restrict their ability to advocate on their own behalf.”

As the fourth most polluted state in the nation, do we need a project that will bring 200,000 tons of poultry waste from tri-state areas every year? This waste would be brought in by heavy-duty trucks, polluting our air to produce more fossil natural gas for Chesapeake Utilities, which hopes to expand its Eastern Shore Natural Gas facility in Bridgeville to receive this gas. That site is also in a residential area predominantly occupied by low-income families and people of color who are less represented by people in power. How is that a solution? We invite faith communities, environmental and social justice organizations to stand in solidarity with the vulnerable migrant community in Sussex, so it doesn't become a sacrifice zone for another industrial facility in the name of profit, and say no to more fossil fuel production in our state. Please join us at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 26, in testifying against Bioenergy Devco here ​​-

Shweta Arya
Executive director, Delaware Interfaith Power & Light 
Rehoboth Beach
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