Cape Gazette

Poking holes in Markell water initiative

By Cindy Wilton | Mar 07, 2014

Gov. Jack Markell recently stated that the condition of Delaware water is “embarrassing and unacceptable.” With 86 percent of rivers and streams unswimmable and 94 percent not supporting fish and wildlife, who could argue?

DNREC’S Collin O’Mara recently said that recreation and tourism employ 30,000 people and is the lifeblood of Sussex County and an economic driver.

While refreshing to hear of plans for a clean water initiative, Gov. Markell and Sec. O’Mara must realize that it will take more than doubletalk and $700 million to clean up Delaware’s dirty water problem. Business as usual at any cost must stop. This “too big to hold accountable” mentality of the Markell Administration is no longer acceptable. Residents are now stuck holding the bag for the contamination at the former Vlassic/Pinnacle Plant.

To add insult to injury, Pinnacle, a viable company listed in the top Fortune 1000, recently purchased Wishbone Salad Dressing for $580 million. Now there is a proposal for a South Korean processing plant at the contaminated site. The proposed Allen Harim facility wants to process two million chickens per week (104 million per year) and dump the 14 million gallons of wastewater per week into Wharton's Branch, a tributary of the Indian River. Harim also wishes to build 100 confinement barns (factory farms) in a 50-mile radius to supply the birds for the slaughter facility.

You can’t have it both ways Governor Markell. Good environmental policy is always good economic policy. If the Indian River is the “lifeblood” of Sussex County, then respect it. It is not the personal toilet bowl for “Too big to hold accountable.”

Cindy Wilton
Protecting Our Indian River Citizens Group

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