Roe comes out swinging at Coastal Zone bill

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A photo from Roe's mayoral campaign website.
Roe at a hearing on the Delaware City Refinery.

The prime opponent of the Newark Data Center/power plant has come out swinging against a bill that would reduce regulatory barriers to redevelopment in the Coastal Zone.

Amy Roe issued a release attacking the legislation – from Newark Rep. Ed Osienski and Sen. Bryan Townsend, both Democrats from Newark, – that in her words “guts the Coastal Zone Act by re-industrializing some of Delaware’s most contaminated land and allowing new bulk product transfer operations where they never previously existed.”

Roe claims that if passed, the bill would allow new heavy industry and bulk product transfer in targeted areas.

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“Heavy industry, and its associated air and water pollution is the most harmful and dangerous form of development. The areas that would be opened to new heavy industry include those near homes, schools, and critical habitat zones.”

The Coastal Zone Act prohibits bulk product transfer because of the pressure it places on the Coastal Zone. The language of the prohibition is eliminated by this bill and replaced with a new procedure that allows bulk product transfer operations where docks existed in 1971.

Coastal Zone redevelopment legislation introduced

She went on to quote Mark Martell, conservation chair of Delaware Audubon Society as saying: “During an era when protecting clean water is a priority for Senator Townsend, he places the integrity of the Delaware River and its tributaries at risk. He is essentially fouling the Delaware Estuary with this bill, thinking somehow that financial guarantees and offsets could mitigate the loss of critical habitat for birds and the ecosystem they rely on to survive.

“This bill creates new sacrifice zones that were protected from the pollution of heavy industrial development. If passed, people will die. Families in the fenceline communities who have borne the disproportionate burden of environmental risk in the state will suffer illness tied to the development of new heavy industry. I can’t help but notice that these new sacrifice zones are far away from where Townsend and Osienski live. This bill promises the creation of new cancer clusters and illness hot spots” said Roe.

Roe is no stranger to the political arena. having suffered a narrow loss in the race for Newark mayor, but triumphing when the University of Delaware pulled the plug on the Data Center project, which included a natural gas-fired generator.

Roe and a coalition of neighbors said the gas-fired generator, would have disastrous consequences for the city, including the wild claim that it would create a micro climate from the releases of water vapor.

Since that time, Roe has focused on the Delaware Audubon Society, which has been part of litigation involving the Delaware City refinery, the largest Coastal Zone employer.

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