Beginning with the most recent
2011 to Present: Tire Incinerator in White Deer
In the summer of 2011, two companies announced they would seek from DEP a permit to build a tire burning incinerator in the region, within a few miles of many residential areas. It would generate electricity for a National Gypsum factory next door to the site of the incinerator. On the basis of discussions with three experts on incinerator technology and its health consequences, OUE concluded that tire burning incinerators put into the air hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic gasses and particulate matter dangerous to human beings. Presently (Feb. 2012) OUE is continuing its research and regularly informing the public of its findings in its newsletter, “OUE Update“. The DEP will consider this permit sometime in the next few months, and at this point OUE plans to challenge it. The supervisors of White Deer Township and the Union County Commissioners have determined that they have no jurisdiction in this matter and have largely avoided the issue. this means the decision to permit the WDEP project lies solely with the DEP. We believeit highly likely that soon – it could be sometime in August – that the DEP will approve the application. If, as we expect, this happens we encourage citizens to write a letter to the Department on the decision during a thirty day comment period that the DEP must offer. These comments can be about any aspect of WDEP: expression of worries about certain aspects of the burner’s operations; more technical questions about these operations; specific questions about specific chemicals… for example how does the DEP know for sure that none of the chemicals will be harmful to people… which is the company’s claim; questions about the hazards of the truck traffic; questions about the hazards of the thousands of tons of toxic ash the incinerator will create; questions about the regulatory process and why the public is left with only 30 days to comment when the two companies have had three years to build their case; and so on. For anyonw willing to write a letter, we will gladly supply a packet of information that includes sample letters, suggestions for onther kinds of letters, and a few pages of background information on the hazards of this kind of incinerator. If you write a letter, we will encourage you to include a request that the DEP hold a public meeting so that all citizens in the area have an opportunity to speak at and/or attend an open public discussion about the incinerator. Please remember that if the DEP approves this application, our letters and such a public hearing will be the only opportunity that we have as citizens to seek a reversal of the decision.
An additional note to LETTER WRITERS: If you are willing to write a letter to DEP, as described above, send us your email and your home address. email@example.com We will send you the information packet the next day. We will also let you know when the thirty day comment period begins.
Thanks for all you help. We need citizens like you to help fight huge corporate polluters like this.
2009 – to Present: Ongoing battle with National Gas Companies in the Marcellus Shale Fields
OUE has become involved with the local battles in trying to restrict national gas companies from violating private property and descrating local boroughs and townships. Some private citizens have also shown that they are not good neighbors to cities, boroughs and townships and need to be dealt with and this is where OUE has stepped in. Many local meetings have been attended and local representatives have been contacted. Progress in this arena is slow due to the lack of knowledge and apathetic nature of some local citizens and residents. This is an ongoing battle and the passage of the house bill 1950 is not helping but diligence and perseverance is needed and inroads can potentially be made in this area.
OUE, 1994 – to Present: The Valley Environment Watchdog
Over the years OUE has diligently battled against environmental polluters, both government and private. Its members have battled these polluters, (corporate animal farms – CAFO’s) by having meetings with local citizens and elected representatives’, picket lines, civil disobedience, and demonstrations, as well as attending a multitude of meetings at the local level, state, and federal levels.
OUE’s success greatly depends on the help and dedication of both its members and that of local citizens who can see and are greatly concerned about the condition and potential pollution that can and sometimes will occur to our environment. These corporate polluters, many times are “absentee landlords” of these operations and therefore show very little concern for local citizens or future citizens. This is where OUE steps in and demands satisfaction to protect our environment not only for ourselves but for future generations.
Battle of the Burner and USPCI 1990-1994
In August, 1990 a subsidiary of Union Pacific – United States Pollution Control, Inc. of Pennsylvania – announced plans to site a hazardous waste incinerator across the highway from the Lycoming County Landfill.
OUE considered the retreat of Union Pacific as a great victory as well as a confirmation of the idea that NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) was the only strategy that a local community could reasonably undertke to keep out the big polluters. (Read more about this battle in OUE history)
1973 Lycoming County Landfill
In 1973, in spite of all the denials by the government and confirming the fears, the Federal Bureau of Prisions (BOP) leased 125 of the 8,500 acres to Lycoming County for use as a landfill. WDCC hired a hydrologist to inspect the site, and he told them not to worry, “that the DER would never give a permit for a landfill on the site because it was the worst possible site for a landfill.”
OUE’s efforts in opposition to the landfill were not in vain. During the many months of hearings, OUE testimony led Lycoming County to redesign its permit so that it would use safer landfill technology than it had intended. Presently, at least twice a year OUE members are allowed on the site to monitor various aspects of the landfill’s operations. (Read more about this battle in OUE history)
Very early rumblings, 1942-72: Alvira, The Susquehanna Ordinance Depot
Organizations United for the Environment (OUE) had its earliest roots in the spring of 1942 when, through a particularly crude form of eminent domain, the United States government seized 8,500 acres of land in the Central Susquehanna Valley. The government seiazed it to build a massive plant for producing and storing TNT. Alvira was a small farming community of about 100 people and included a post office, two stores, a blacksmith shop, a schoolhouse, and two churches. By April, construction had started on the Depot, and by June the last of Alvira’s citizens had been evicted. (Read more about this battle in OUE history)