Waelz Sustainable Products blocked from Polluting Muncie

City Council Institutes Environmental Impact Committee

American Electric Power Agrees to Implement Pollution Control

The Muncie–Delaware County community has two important reasons to celebrate this summer: first, the reversal of a decision that would have damaged public health and well-being, and second, the institution of a governmental safeguard that will help prevent similar threats in the future.

Waelz Sustainable Products (WSP)

Muncie is Safe-r

Waelz Sustainable Products (WSP) sought and received City support for a facility installation at the site of the former Borg-Warner plant. While the project was presented as a positive development for Muncie, as a recycling project that would provide jobs, it would have also led to the release of hazardous environmental pollutants, contaminating the region with lead, mercury, dioxin, and dangerous particulates.

Over 600 local residents turned out to protest the project at the Muncie City Council meeting on August 5th. Also, citizens organized and attended meetings on the issue, signed petitions, wrote letters to the editor, and contacted local and state legislators. In response to overwhelming community opposition, WSP’s plans to install the factory were withdrawn—a big win for area residents, whose lives will be healthier as a result.

But the win didn’t end there. Because residents demonstrated not only that the community is strongly engaged in issues of public health and environmental, but also that elected officials will be held accountable to their constituents for the decisions they make on our behalf, the City Council has instituted an environmental impact committee. This committee will be responsible for reviewing new proposed projects that might negatively affect air, soil, and water quality in the area. Its members are required to seek advice from professionals before making decisions that would affect environmental conditions.

Not only did Muncie and Delaware County citizens successfully overturn a decision that would have compromised our overall health and well-being for years to come, but we also demonstrated that “we, the people” do indeed have a powerful voice—that when we insist on being heard, we can help direct community development in ways that enhance our quality of life rather than jeopardize it.

For more information, follow these links to coverage by the StarPress:

comprehensive collection of links

environmental committee creation

A planned steel-dust recycling facility in Muncie would look similar to this one. (Photo: Waelz Sustainable Products)

AEP Commits to Retire Largest Coal Unit

More good news on the environmental front: American Electric Power Corporation has signed a legal agreement to implement increased pollution controls that will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from its two Rockport power plants in Spencer, Indiana, by at least 58%. Furthermore, one of the two units is scheduled for complete retirement by December 31, 2028, which is expected to prevent the ejection of 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—the equivalent of removing 2 million cars from the road. In addition, the company will provide $3.5 million to fund projects aimed at improving energy efficiency and pollution reduction.

For more information, see the Sierra Club article at https://www.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2019/07/american-electric-power-commits-retire-largest-coal-unit-beyond-coal-campaign.

The Ball State University Vietnam Moratorium Committee is presenting “Reunite, Remember, Rekindle,”
its 50th Anniversary Reunion and Conference, and the Public is Invited!

The events will honor the history of student activism at
Ball State during the Vietnam era, but just as importantly,
they are aimed at connecting with activists in current student movements.

Ball State University

Vietnam Moratorium Committee


50th Anniversary Reunion and Conference

The Reunion Mixer and Dinner

 will be held
at BSU’s Alumni Center Assembly Hall 
on Thursday, October 10
from 6:00-10:30 pm.

The $40 fee includes choice of entreé
and a commemorativet-shirt,
with paid registration due by October 1.

For Tickets

The all-day Conference

 on Friday, October 11,
from 9:00 am–5:30 pm
at Pittenger Student Center’s Cardinal Hall, 
is free of charge and open to the public.

 

The Conference will present a full day of panels and speakers.

David Harris
will present the keynote address at 11:30 am

He is  a veteran anti-war activist, journalist, author of 11 books, and continuing peace advocate.

For More Information

 

Voter Services September 2019

Voter Service has been busy this past month.  We have registered voters at the Moms Demand Action anti-gun violence rally, the Second Harvest Food Bank, the Ride for the Mounds, and the Old Washington Street Festival. At the Old Washington Street Festival we had people tell us they were specifically looking for our booth so they could register the new voters in their families or ask questions about voting laws.   The community knows us for our good work!

We have also been working on setting up community forums so the candidates in the November election for local offices can answer questions from the citizens of Muncie.  We are sponsoring a City Council Candidate Forum, and are helping the NAACP with a Mayoral Forum.  Both will be live broadcast on WLBC, and a rebroadcast will be available online after the Forums are over.  We hope to see you all at both of these events!

 

 

Mayoral Candidate Forum  

The NAACP is sponsoring a debate on

October 10    

7:00 pm         

Church of the Living God

City Council Candidate Forum

October 17    

7:00 pm         

Northside Middle School

 

 

 

Congratulations Indiana Leaguers!

Thanks to your work and support, the National Voter Registration Act will not be violated in Indiana.

TO ALL LEAGUERS AND FRIENDS, 

Appeals Court Upholds Freeze on Indiana Law that Would Cancel Voter Registrations Without Telling Voters  

MEDIA CONTACT: Derek Rosenfeld, derek.rosenfeld@nyu.edu, 646-292-8381

A federal appeals court in Chicago today upheld a trial court ruling temporarily preventing the state of Indiana from implementing a 2017 law that could recklessly knock eligible voters off registration lists. The 2017 law directs election officials to cancel the registrations of voters identified by the flawed Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck system as having registered in another state – without providing notice and a waiting period, as mandated by federal law.

On behalf of the League of Women Voters of Indiana and the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP, Brennan Center lawyers, with co-counsel from Quinn Emanuel and the McCain Law Offices, sued Indiana’s elections officials because Indiana’s new purge law violates the National Voter Registration Act, or NVRA. The NVRA sets clear procedures that officials must follow before removing a voter from the rolls who is believed to have moved. Last year, a trial court preliminarily halted implementation of Indiana’s purge law while the case is being considered. Today’s appellate ruling upheld that decision.

“The NVRA imposes a duty of notice and a waiting period to ensure that eligible voters are not improperly removed from the rolls,” said Myrna Pérez, Director of the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights & Elections Program. “The state of Indiana cannot ignore those indisputable requirements of federal law.”

“The Seventh Circuit is rightfully worried that Indiana sought to rely exclusively on Crosscheck data to silence Hoosiers on Election Day,” said Barbara Bolling-Williams, President of the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP. “It is vital that Indiana follow federal law and ensure that voters are not wrongfully removed from the rolls.”

“The League of Women Voters of Indiana supports responsible voter list maintenance,” said Patsy Hoyer and Oscar Anderson, Co-Presidents of the League of Women Voters of Indiana. “As today’s decision suggests, Indiana’s Crosscheck purge law does not accomplish that goal.”

The Crosscheck program—which compares voter registration data across participating states and can find a match based on first name, last name, and date of birth alone—has resulted in wrongful removals when used elsewhere. The use of Crosscheck was expanded under former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who served as vice chairman of President Trump’s controversial and now dissolved voter fraud commission. But Crosscheck is so unreliable that eleven states have left the program in recent years.Indiana’s 2017 purge law comes as part of a wave of similar laws nationwide that the Brennan Center has worked to stop. Last summer, the Brennan Center released Purges: A Growing Threat to the Right to Vote, a report examining the growing threat of states using bad practices to clean up their voter registration lists and outlining the steps each state can take to protect voters.

Source URL: https://www.brennancenter.org/press-release/appeals-court-upholds-freeze-indiana-law-would-cancel-voter-registrations-without 

 
 
Copyright © 2019 League of Women Voters of Indiana, All rights reserved.

Waelz Zinc Processing Facility to Replace Borg-Warner

Muncie City Council tonight voted to assign study of the Waelz Zinc Processing facility to a committee that will invite testimony from scientists and citizens. 

The committee will then recommend a revised ordinance or rescind the original ordinance. 
They will hold a public hearing—date TBA.   

 

Put this on your calendar too!

 Waelz Zinc Processing facility public meeting

Tuesday, August 20

—see notice below-

July 31, 2019 Contact: Ali Alavi - 317-334-7067 WSP understands the concerns being expressed by the Muncie community regarding the proposed new zinc production facility. We want to emphatically reiterate our commitment to the protection of human health and the environment with respect to our planned operation - a core value of the two partners in WSP - and continuing to communicate and engage with our neighbors. We are targeting Tuesday August 20, 2019, for our next meeting with the community during which additional details regarding the project can be presented in a setting more conducive to personal interaction with members of the community. The more intimate setting will allow WSP representatives the opportunity to answer questions, address concerns and provide facts and accurate information we are confident will prove reassuring to its neighbors. We are keenly aware of the specific questions circulating in the community regarding mercury emissions and want to be lear that the facility will operate in compliance with environmental laws and in accordance with air regulations and its final air permit, all of which ensures an operation that protects human health and the envirnment. IDEM will not issue a final air permit without ensuring the safety and health of area residents. We support Representative Errington and Senator Lananes idea of IDEM holding a public hearing when the draft air permit is issued and continuing to carry out its mission of acting in the best interests of the citizens of Indiana.

Muncie City Council Meeting Aug 5, 2019

Various photographers

Girl holds sign with concerns over possible pollution from Zinc Oxide plant
Man wears high quality dust protection mask and protective plastic suit
Boy holds sign that reads “Don’t poison the air. We like it here.”
Man holds sign questioning Muncie allowing Toxic Steel Dust in our community
Boy and man hold signs outside Muncie City Council meeting in protest of Waelz factory
Overflow crowd waiting outside The Muncie City building at Aug 5, 2019 City Council meeting
Rally at Muncie City Council on August 5, 2019

Democracy is not a spectator sport

Videos of the City Council meeting on Aug 5, 2019, coverage of the upcoming meeting on Channel 6, and a video of children chanting “Please don’t poison us!”

Video of The Muncie City Council meeting

Video: After Council President left the building

Channel 6 was covering the rally but missed the fireworks at the end of the meeting.

The Indy Channel

 

Photos from Josh Arthur’s post in Change of Plans Click picture to visit the event on Facebook
  • regulation of pollution sources by control and penalties;

  • inspection and monitoring;

  • full disclosure of pollution data;

  • incentives to accelerate pollution control;

GUN SAFETY

Responding to the latest in a long series of bloodletting that the American people across the country have endured, Chris Carson, President of the League of Women Voters of the United States, stated:

 

I think we all must acknowledge our anger and frustration that this kind of slaughter can continue under the guise of ‘constitutional rights’. But getting past that entirely justifiable outrage, we need to continue to work for legislation that promotes gun safety.

However – we all need to acknowledge that this is really about Voting Rights. Unless all American citizens can vote, we are not going to get past this. Until barriers to voting are eliminated – Voter ID, restrictive registration requirements, gerrymandering – are eliminated, we can’t pass legislation that will make a difference. It all comes back to the vote.

~ Chris Carson, President of the League of Women Voters of the United States

Redistricting Update

Issue after issue that arises

—education, gun violence, environmental concerns—reminds us that we need legislators and local officials who will respond to and work with constituents.

 

Unless all American citizens can vote, and know that their votes will count, we are not going to get past this crisis of democracy.

While we work to reduce barriers to voting, we continue to work for redistricting reform.

Take the End Gerrymandering Pledge and Pass it On…

We’ve got to spend this summer and fall doing what we can to keep redistricting reform on the General Assembly’s radar screen.  One of the best and easiest ways to do that is to take the End Gerrymandering Pledge

  http://www.endgerrymanderingpledge.org  

Send above link to your local officials

Our Muncie City Council passed our coalition resolution for redistricting reform in September 2016, but it’s time to remind them too.  Send the link to the pledge to your city council and county commission members and ask them to take a stand for fair districts. 

Your Government Officials

 

Politicians Lose More Gerrymandering Cases in Court. Nearly 90 percent of maps drawn by independent commissions are upheld. Nearly 40 percent of maps drawn by politicians require court intervention. Common Cause. CLC Advancing Democracy Through Law

Politician Map Makers Keep Courts Busy

An interesting, but not surprising analysis by the Campaign Legal Center and Common Cause finds that:

States where politicians draw the maps are more likely to have their maps challenged in court than states that have a more independent redistricting process.  Read more here

https://www.commoncause.org/democracy-wire/politicians-lose-more-gerrymandering-cases-courts/

Thanks to the Hoosier Environmental Council, this is for those of you who will want to…

Speak Out for Our National Forests

The Trump Administration is proposing to dramatically weaken the rules that govern environmental review and public input for management activities in America’s national forests. The result, if these changes become final, is that major forest management projects including logging and road building that affect thousands of acres will be virtually exempt from environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act. Furthermore, the public will lose its opportunity for meaningful input into these management decisions. For Indiana’s Hoosier National Forest, every logging project over the last 15 years would have been excluded from public comment and environmental analysis requirements under the proposed rules.

Take Action: 

Read our blog and take action today. Comments are due by August 12th.

The blog reference is:

https://www.hecweb.org/2019/07/31/trump-administration-seeks-to-reduce-oversight-and-public-notice-for-national-forest-logging-projects/

At the end of the blog you can click on the “public participation portal” that gets you to a quick way to submit your individual comment. 

 

Liz Solberg and Dave Simcox, on behalf also of Lisa Harris and Jeanette Neagu
LWVIN Natural Resources Advocacy Coordination

Change of Plans: Mercury, Lead in our Systems

 

Josh Arthur > ‎Change of Plans – Mercury, Lead in Our Systems Yesterday at 10:04 AM · Public · in Photos from Josh Arthur’s post in Change of Plans – Mercury, Lead in Our Systems

CITY HALL – MONDAY – 7:30p – 8/5

Please change your Monday plans so you and your people can attend. We want to show 1000 strong in solidarity for the future of our community.

As you’ve read, there are plans for the largest facility emitting airborne mercury pollution in the United States to open on Kilgore. It would be 15th in the United States in lead emissions. That’s 5x more lead than Exide, and 10x more particulates than Exide.

 

*Consider asking council members to reconsider their votes in favor of tax abatement for this proposed facility.*

 

Our council members would love to hear your thoughts about this:

Map of Districts:

http://www.cityofmuncie.com/documents/MuncieCityCouncilDistricts_2017-1.jpg

Districts 1-3

Doug Marshall
District #1
dougmarshall@comcast.net
district1@cityofmuncie.com
(765)702-7951

Dan Ridenour
District #2
dan.ridenour@yahoo.com
district2@cityofmuncie.com
(765)760-2118

Lynn Peters
District #3
district3@cityofmuncie.com
(765)729-8138

Districts 4-6

Brad Polk
District #4
bpolkdist4@gmail.org
district4@cityofmuncie.com
(765)717-5498

Jerry Dishman
District #5
dishjd@netscape.net
district5@cityofmuncie.com
(765)215-9747

Julius Anderson
District #6
jjanders125@gmail.com
district6@cityofmuncie.com
(765)289-6639

Districts At-Large

Denise Moore
At-Large
dmoore1956@hotmail.com
(765)215-1660

Linda Gregory
At-Large
lindagregory@comcast.net
(765)286-2925

Nora Powell
At-Large
npowellmuncie@gmail.com
(765)284-3991

 

Please stay up to date with this event as more content is added.

Further details for the City Council meeting and contacting IDEM are forthcoming on Facebook.

https://m.facebook.com/events/374940503196029/?active_tab=about

Expect Beautiful


2019 White River Cleanup:  September 21

Muncie-Delaware Clean and Beautiful has announced September 21 for the White River Cleanup from 8AM to 12PM at Westside Park.  Registration will be available July 2019.

From beautifulmuncie.org

The White River Cleanup happens each September, and is a statewide public service event stretching along much of the White River.  Many counties including Delaware, Hamilton, Monroe, Madison and Morgan Counties participate in cleaning up the White River on or near the same date.  Thousands of pounds of trash are removed every year including large amounts of tires.

Volunteers walk the bank, river and land where possible removing debris from and around the river. When that is not possible, volunteers use canoes to navigate through the water filling them up along the way with the debris they find.

The White River Cleanup is sponsored by the Stormwater Management Department and organized by Muncie-Delaware Clean & Beautiful.

2019 White River Cleanup:

  September 21

from 8AM to 12PM at Westside Park
Registration will be available July 2019

Muncie-Delaware Clean and Beautiful

Visit

beautifulmuncie.org