A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 November 5, 1991 Rev.

Some election results from November 5, 1991


“Do you approve of Monmouth County’s solid waste plans to construct a
facility capable of recovering recyclables, removing hazardous waste and
incinerating the remainder for electric generation at the existing county
disposal site in Tinton Falls?”

The vote: 79,000 NO, 73,000 YES. County officials agreed to honor the non-binding referendum. Westinghouse poured over 1/2 million dollars into full page ads in all of the major and local newspapers; radio spots; 15 minute segments on the Cable TV stations; five mailings to all 300,000 registered county voters; coupled with a telephone marketing campaign to county residents, with tactics such as: ‘Would you want to build an incinerator if you could save $600 million on your taxes’; and ‘Would you rather build an incinerator or open up 18 old landfills in the county;’ etc. While Westinghouse campaigned for their incinerator, the Health Risk Assessment hadn’t even been released. The incinerator proposal descended on Monmouth County about 3 years ago. The county signed a contract with Westinghouse in January 1991. The county assembled a unique Citizens Risk Assessment Committee and appointed Kay Jones as Chair of the Committee. The members of this committee worked hard. But the Committee had not met since April 1991 after they began to ask questions on composting. None of the Committee members were informed of a report released to the press only by HDR Engineering, White Plains, NY on November 1st, which stressed that health risks from composting were much greater than health risks from incineration. *** INCINERATOR OPPONENTS: Citizen groups spent approx. $19,000 on the referendum. The pivotal group against the Westinghouse incinerator in Monmouth County were the 300 area doctors who were consistent and outspoken opponents to the incinerator. The medical staff at the Jersey Shore Hospital and the Monmouth Medical Center spearheaded the medical community’s opposition. Monmouth County Citizens for Clean Air & Water were the lead group against the incinerator. They were joined by anti-incinerator editorial positions against the incinerator from The Asbury Park Press, The Register, The Coaster, The Atlanticville, The Bayshore Independent, and The News Transcript. Other opponents included: The Monmouth County Education Assoc., Monmouth County Bar Assoc, IUE Local 417, AFL-CIO, United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 348-5, The Junior League of Monmouth County, The Red Bank Ministerium, The American Health Assoc., the American Lung Assoc., Clean Ocean Action, Jersey Shore and State Sierra Clubs, Jersey Shore Audubon, Monmouth County Friends of Clearwater, NJ Environmental Federation, Shore Environmental Medicine, Monmouth College Action Now, GREO, State Coalition Against Incineration, Monmouth County Environmental Committee, SAFE, US Congressman Pallone, NJ Senators: Bennett, Palaia, Phillips. Assemblymen Kryillos, Villipiano, Jacobson and Assemblywoman Smith.

***INCINERATOR PROPONENTS AND THEIR TACTICS: Westinghouse spent well over $1/2 million, and possibly $850,000, on the referendum. Pro-incinerator: four of the five county Freeholders and County Administrator Bob Collins. County government officials said they would remain neutral on the referendum issue. In the last week before the vote, they broke all the rules. In a paid advertisement titled “Guest editorial”, County Freeholder Director, Harry Larrison, Jr., came out in support of the incinerator. County Recycling Coordinator Anne Scott sent a personal letter in support of the incinerator to every registered voter. Westinghouse Public Relations director was Rosemary Mathias and the project manager was Sam Subbaswamy. In an apparent last-ditch effort to sway the votes, Westinghouse’s consultant HDR released a report to the press on November 1st, which stated that composting presented a cancer risk 100 times greater than the cancer risks from incineration. The residents never saw a copy of that report. The public relations firm Westinghouse hired was Princeton Public Affairs Group out of Trenton, NJ. Two ‘environmental front-groups’ for the incinerator were: Responsible Environmentalists of Monmouth County and Citizens for a Clean Tomorrow. The latter group received funding from NJ For A Clean Tomorrow, a pro-industry group.

For more information contact: Laurie Cannon, Monmouth County Citizens for Clean Air and Water, PO Box 637, Neptune, NJ 07754. Tel: 908-922-1633. See Waste Not #s 132,147,154 for more info.

***NORTH CAROLINA: The little town of Woodland, in Northampton County, voted in a whole new (anti-incinerator) Town Board. The Mayor and four-member town board of Woodland signed contracts in May 1991 with ThermalKEM to build a 5-state regional hazardous waste incinerator in Woodland. Woodland’s population is approx. 900, and if the ThermalKEM deal went through, Woodland would receive as much as $3.5 million in host fees from the incinerator operations. The Mayor and the town board members who were in favor of the hazardous waste incinerator deal were all defeated in the election. The ousted Mayor, who lost by a margin of 3 votes, is challenging the election. The other town board members were elected with a considerably greater margin. North Carolina’s attorney general, Lacy Thornburg, has joined the Woodland citizens lawsuit which charges that the Woodland town board illegally met in closed meetings, in violation of the open meetings law, to negotiate the annexation of the land for ThermalKEM to build the incinerator. The only other time Waste Not has seen an entire town board elected out of office took place in Maitland, Ontario, Canada, when citizens voted in all new town board members in November 1988. The new Maitland town board had promised the community they would cancel the contracts the town had secretly signed with ENSCO to build a hazardous waste incinerator. The new town board members succeeded in getting rid of ENSCO in April 1989. (See Waste Not #149).

***NEW YORK: OYSTER BAY. Lew Yevoli (D), who ran on an anti-incinerator platform, was elected as Town Supervisor. Oyster Bay has signed contracts with American Ref Fuel for a 1,000 tpd incinerator. North Hempstead was in a similar position two years ago when residents voted for an anti-incinerator Town Supervisor who quickly managed to squash the incinerator plans, even though contracts had been signed between the Town of North Hempstead and Ebasco & Babcock & Wilcox to build a 990 tpd incinerator [see Waste Not #126].. The same is now expected to happen in Oyster Bay.

***NEW YORK: Syracuse, Onondoga County. Vicki Baker was re-elected as County Legislator in Onondoga County. Vicki ran a campaign against the proposed 990 tpd Ogden Martin mass-burn incinerator proposed for Syracuse. Vicki won this year’s election by 1,300 votes. When Vicki Baker ran for the legislative seat two years ago she won by 38 votes.

***MAINE: Biddeford. Joanne Twomey an outspoken critic of the 500 tpd MERC incinerator in Biddeford was elected to Biddeford’s city council. On August 7, 1990, Biddeford Mayor Bonita Belanger had Twomey arrested at a city council meeting for speaking out on the incinerator [see Waste Not # 142]. Biddeford Mayor Belanger was also defeated in the election.

***MASSACHUSETTS: Holyoke. Helen Norris, who helped defeat a proposed incinerator for Holyoke in 1986 was elected to office as Alderwoman. In 1985 Holyoke held a referendum on the proposed incinerator, which residents voted for two to one. Helen Norris led the successful campaign to defeat the incinerator, which was finally rejected by the state because of the existing high levels of lead in the Holyoke area and because of the air inversions that frequented the area.

***NEW JERSEY: Camden County. Mark Lohbauer ran for the County Freeholder seat. Sadly Mark lost. Mark worked hard on recycling programs for the county and pioneered the first-ever health-based standard for mercury emissions. -see Waste Not # 168. Foster Wheeler which operates a 1,050 tpd incinerator in the city of Camden was very much opposed to the new standard. Waste Not plans to report further on Mark’s campaign.

***MICHIGAN: OAKLAND COUNTY’S REFERENDUM TO BOND A 2,000 TPD WESTINGHOUSE INCINERATOR APPROVED BY 223 VOTES. CITIZENS PLAN TO ASK FOR RECOUNT. The referendum on the $500 million bond issue was approved by a narrow 223 votes: 70,908 YES, 70,685 NO. There are 728,220 registered voters in Oakland County. Westinghouse’s tactics to get residents to approve this referendum appeared to have come from the same blueprint Westinghouse used in the Monmouth County, NJ, referendum. Westinghouse’s chief people on this project: Vaughn Gilbert, John Loric and Richard Hopkins. MAJOR PROPONENTS: 20 of the 27 County Commissioners. Health Risk Assessment was done by Camp Dresser McKee. SITING OF THE INCINERATOR: To be located in Auburn Hills. Less than a mile from the site are over 1,000 homes. Within a 1/2 mile of the incinerator is Lower Trout Lake. The state has issued a fish advisory for fish in Lower Trout Lake because of too much mercury in the fish. The site is also within 1/4 mile from the site is the GM Orion Plant. INCINERATOR OPPONENTS included: Clean Air Please, Clean Water Action, Detroit Audubon, East Michigan Environmental Action Group--they came out against it when WESTINGHOUSE used their name in support of the incinerator without their approval, Sierra Club, The State of Michigan Council of Vietnam Veterans, Rochester Hills School Board, Help Oakland Protect the Environment, HELP, Michigan Lakes & Stream Assoc., Oakland Taxpayers Assoc., Parents Against Cancer Plus, Taxpayers United for Michigan, WEAVE, Great Lakes Forum, Earth Day Everyday, Earth Works Foundation, to name a few. For more information contact: Marilynne Burton-Ristau, Residents Against Incineration and Landfill (RAIL), 17 Cardinal Hill, Orion, MI 48359. Tel: 313-373-0818.

WASTE NOT # 172 A publication of Work on Waste USA, published 48 times a year. Annual rates are: Groups & Non-Profits $50; Students & Seniors $35; Individual $40; Consultants & For-Profits $125; Canadian $US45; Overseas $65. Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.