DC group files suit against Georgetown chicken waste to biogas plant


Washington, D.C.-based Food and Water Watch has filed a lawsuit that seeks a judicial review of a renewable natural gas (RNG)  plant in Sussex County.

The suit was  filed in Delaware  Superior Court on behalf of a nearby resident.

Named in the lawsuit was the Sussex County Planning & Zoning  Commission, which approved zoning for the site.


(See accompanying sketch).

The suit claims the commission did not have jurisdiction in the case, alleging that the decision rested with the Board of Adjustment.

The suit also claims that the individual listed as a party in the case would see the value of his property and the quality of his well’s drinking water affected by the proposed plant near Georgetown.

The legal action also claims that the permit to build the CleanBay Renewables  plant had lapsed, despite a claim that construction was under way. CleanBay is based in Annapolis, MD.

Last year, Dover-based Chesapeake Utilities announced an agreement with CleanBay to transport natural gas from the Georgetown site to the company’s natural gas distribution system. Chesapeake owns a trucking company that would transport the gas.

Biogas plants are viewed by the poultry industry and some in the enviornmental community as a solution to the issue of poultry litter pollution.  In the past  chicken waste and even dead chickens were plowed back into the soil, with nutrients making their  way into inland bays and oher waterways.

Food and Water Watch has been fiercely opposed to biogas projects.  The group has also called for a ban on extracting oil and natural gas via hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”

(See  copy of the lawsuit below)