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 In response to overwhelming community opposition, WSP’s plans to install the factory were withdrawn—a big win for area residents, whose lives will be healthier as a result.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:
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.