The public hearing and comment period on three important permits to allow continued and expanded pollution from Covanta's waste incinerator in Camden are being conducted in a shamefully undemocratic manner out of line with the state's new Environmental Justice law.Please join Camden for Clean Air in calling on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for a better process.
You can read our full letter to DEP
. In short, we are calling for:
1) multiple in-person hearings to be held after the new year, separating the permit for another five years of Covanta's air pollution from the two intertwined air and waste permits allowing Covanta to start taking liquid industrial waste and to install air pollution control upgrades.
2) the hearings to be located within the Morgan Village or Waterfront South neighborhoods.
3) a virtual component to be made available for both hearings, via Zoom, hosted by DEP so that it's not a list-building tool for Covanta's PR effort and so that attendees can trust to join in.
4) printed notice of the in-person and virtual components of both hearings, as well as details on the comment process, to be delivered by mail to all residents with one mile of the facility, in plain unbiased language vetted by DEP with community feedback, which explains that there are public health implications related to these permits.
5) the public notice to be printed in English and Spanish, and that it refer people to online copies of the permit documents as well as copies in a local library (also to be available in English and Spanish).
6) equal time to be given to Camden for Clean Air to present for as many minutes as Covanta gets to present in any meeting portion prior to the start of any formal hearing, and that the time of the formal hearing (the onset of public testimony) be fixed and advertised for those who do not have time to sit through presentations before giving their public comment.
7) the hearing to be a real hearing, where members of the public get to present, on the record, without Covanta responding to each commenter.
8) a 60-day period following the hearings to be provided for written public comment.
9) as much of the Environmental Justice law to be followed as possible, in accordance with the spirit and letter of the law, regulations, and AO 2021-25. [The law doesn't fully apply because Covanta applied before it takes effect.]