Before the dust settles on his time as Delaware's U.S. Senator, Biden steps in on Claymont's behalf
By Jesse Chadderdon
Posted Nov 13, 2008 @ 07:45 AM
Claymont, Del. —
The Claymont Dust brigade has found itself a pretty big ally in its fight to eliminate dust emanating from the Claymont Steel mill on Philadelphia Pike.
Sen. Joseph Biden, the former Claymonter who soon will have a new, national title attached to his name, has sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking it to intervene there.
Biden writes that the company has been slow to respond to requests by state environmental officials to clean up its act. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has been unhappy with the pace that the mill has worked to suppress the dust there, and documents suggest the company has missed several deadlines set forth by the state.
"The company seems reluctant or unable to follow through on its efforts to reduce airborne emissions from the Claymont plant," Biden wrote Oct. 14. "The community continues to believe that there has been a lack of progress in terms of both actual reduction in airborne pollution and in open dialogue between the community and Claymont Steel."
Dee Whildin, who has spearheaded a resident-led dust collection in Claymont, said it took a long time to even get the company to acknowledge they were the source of dust, and now it's become a painstaking process to get it adequately addressed.
"It irritates me to no end that I have to volunteer and take time away from my family to do what they should be doing," she said. "I'm hoping maybe this has lit a fire under everybody…to speed up the process."
Indeed, Claymont Steel, which is owned by the Russian company Evraz, has been ordered to install dust monitors, a process Vice-President Victor Clark said was delayed because the company needed landowner approval to install its four monitors throughout the area.
In a Nov. 6 letter to DNREC, Clark wrote that data from its monitors would be available "once appropriate quality control procedures have been completed."
Meanwhile, Whildin and other residents were finally set to learn the chemical makeup of the stuff their finding on their homes, on their car windshields, even their clothes.
The dust samples they began collecting this summer have since been tested at an EPA-approved lab through Global Community Monitoring, a group specializing in community-based environmental protection, and the results were scheduled to be released to the community on Saturday.
Copyright © 2008 GateHouse Media, Inc. Some Rights Reserved.
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.