Why we oppose incineration.


Incineration turns waste into toxic air pollution and toxic ash, which would be dumped in area landfills, making them even more toxic to groundwater than they usually are.

Incineration is the most expensive and polluting way to make energy or to dispose of waste. Real solutions like reuse, recycling and composting produce 10 times as many jobs as burning or burying waste. San Francisco just reached 80% diversion from landfills and incinerators through their zero waste program.

To learn about how toxic, dangerous, expensive and unnecessary incinerators are, see:

Incineration: Myths vs. Facts on “Waste-to-Energy”

Incineration and Incinerators-in-Disguise

Petitioner Orientation Meetings

Allentown is threatened by a toxic incinerator that would foul our region’s air with poisons from burned trash and sewage sludge.

WE NEED 2,000 SIGNATURES BY MARCH 15th to put a Clean Air ordinance (En Espanol) on the November ballot.

Please Join Us!

Petitioner Orientation Meetings
February 4th, 5th & 6th (Mon, Tues & Wed) from 6pm-7pm
Allentown Brew Works – FIVE (fifth floor)
812 W. Hamilton St, Allentown, PA 18101

Come to one of these meetings to get materials and orientation to help the petitioning effort.

Get Involved!

Can’t make it, but want to help?  Contact Us.

We also need petitioners to help with the following:

  • Tabling at the Allentown Brew Works at prime traffic times
    • 12pm-2pm Weekdays
    • 5pm-7pm Thursday & Fridays
    • Food and refreshments for those who can staff a table for an hour or two
  • Collecting signatures at community meetings, churches, neighborhood groups, etc.
  • Other good ideas for where to find lots of Allentown registered voters?

Let us know!

Petitioner’s Committee has filed a Proposed Clean Air Ordinance

PROPOSED City of Allentown Clean Air Ordinance



WHEREAS, the United States of America Clean Air Act, as amended, including Amendments of 1989, and the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act of January 9, 1960 (P.L. 2119), as amended, provide in part for the better protection of the health, general welfare and property of the people of the Commonwealth by the abatement, reduction and prevention of the pollution of the air by smokes, fumes, gases, odors, mists, vapors, and similar matter, or any combination thereof; and

WHEREAS, the Federal and Commonwealth Legislatures have granted the power to local municipalities to adopt more stringent air pollution standards than those provided within the cited Acts, as affirmed by the adoption of section 12 of Act 95 of 1992, 35 P.S.§4012; and

WHEREAS, local municipalities have thus been empowered with the right to enact ordinances in protecting and preserving the ambient air quality; and

WHEREAS, Allentown’s ambient air quality is a matter of vital concern to the residents of the City; and

WHEREAS, the City of Allentown is of the opinion that increased introduction of air contaminants within the City would have an adverse effect on the ambient air quality; and

WHEREAS, the City of Allentown has determined that the impact of increased air contaminants should be borne by those introducing the contaminants; and

Read the Entire Ordinance

Download the Proposed City of Allentown Clean Air Ordinance

Allentown Community Incinerator Discussion Meeting

RSVP on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/248921288569384/~~ Toxic Trash/sludge Incinerator Threatens Allentown ~~Learn about this dangerous city plan andhow you can help save Allentown’s air and pocketbook.

Allentown Community Incinerator Discussion Meeting
Monday, Dec 17th, at 7:15pm
Fellowship Room of Saint James UCC Church
(37 South 15th Street, Allentown, PA)

Delta Thermo Energy Corp is planning to construct an incinerator at 112 W Union St in Allentown. This incinerator will burn garbage and sewage sludge in Center City Allentown, near the East End of the city.

The burning of garbage/sewage has been determined to release sulfur, mercury, lead, carbon dioxide, and dioxin. According to census data, the community surrounding the planned incinerator is 60-85% Latino and African-American (see map below). Delta Thermo intends to release these toxic chemicals into the air and water of one of the most racially diverse working class communities in the Lehigh Valley.

Delta Thermo says the incinerator is “clean technology,” but theirs is the first of its type in the world and has never been tested for pollution before: Delta Thermo Energy is using you and your loved ones as test subjects for their experiment with this “new” incinerator.

We need your help! Several Allentown residents are coming together for a presentation and discussion on what to do next. Mike Ewall from Energy Justice Network will share his expertise on the hazards of incineration and lead a Q&A and discussion on the issue.

PLEASE JOIN US… and spread the word!

RSVP on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/248921288569384/

For info on why incinerators are so dangerous

Location of Proposed Trash/Sludge Incinerator in Demographic Map

Allentown environmental group speaks out against waste-to-energy plant project

Click here to read the full article in The Express-Times

Highlights from article:

“Allentown has no control over any aspect of the operation of the facility, including monitoring, maintenance or problems that may arise if this untried technology fails,” [Julie] Thomases said during a city council meeting tonight.

Continue reading “Allentown environmental group speaks out against waste-to-energy plant project”

Environmental Advisory Council Statement

Environmental Advisory Council
City of Allentown

On March 29, 2012 Allentown signed a 35-year contract with a private NJ company, Delta Thermo Energy (DTE), to build an incinerator on Kline’s Island in Allentown for disposal of the city’s trash and sewage sludge. The incinerator will be generating electricity from the heat generated in the combustor.

The EAC was briefed on the DTE process multiple times starting in 2010 by DTE’s company principals, Mayor Pawlowski, and advisors on the project. The EAC has done its own research which included consultations with people knowledgeable in related fields. Allentown has no control over any aspect of the operation of the facility, including monitoring, maintenance, or problems that may arise if this untried technology fails. The contract requires the city to pay DTE millions of dollars per year for 35 years to process and dispose of the city’s trash and sewage sludge.

It is the opinion of the EAC that this contract puts Allentown at unnecessary risk for financial losses and environmental damage to the city’s air, water, and quality of life while discouraging the adoption of less expensive and environmentally healthier options for its waste.

  1. An argument made for the incinerator is that the cost to landfill the city’s trash and sewage sludge will rise dramatically in a few years due to dwindling availability of landfill space. In fact, the Lehigh Valley has three huge landfills, Chrin, IESI, and Grand Central. According to information from the DEP, a least one of the landfills has capacity for current levels of waste production for three decades. Two local landfills have announced plans for expansion. There are also opportunities to develop additional landfills.
  2. DTE claims the electricity produced in this facility will be clean energy. In fact, trash incineration produces more pollution than any other sort of electricity generation, and is much worse than coal for releases of mercury, lead, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Trash incineration is also one of the largest sources of dioxin pollution – among the most toxic man-made chemicals. Many toxic materials found in trash cannot be destroyed. They could go up and out smokestack, be in water discharged into local waterways or be in the ash going to our landfills. Concentrated toxic ash is more dangerous in landfills than if the unburned waste was landfilled directly.
  3. The backers of the incinerator claim it will not pollute because it has to comply with the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations. In reality, the DEP regulates and requires monitoring of only a small number of pollutants and for those, the limits are not based on health or safety but on what is practical for various industries to meet. Once an incinerator is operating, DEP rarely shuts it down when it violates regulations. Although DEP may impose fines, owners often put off fixing the problems and sometimes consider paying the fines as a cost of doing business.
  4. The contract creates a disincentive to reduce waste. The incinerator needs a minimum volume of waste to work efficiently, about the same as the current amount of waste produced by the city. Should the city produce less waste through increased recycling and composting it will still be charged full price. This potential financial burden will be borne by Allentown taxpayers for decades and makes it all the more difficult to find better solution. The preferred way to reduce the amount of trash going to landfills is to lessen the amount of trash created by the city residents. Much of what is sent to landfills can be eliminated, recycled, or reused. Easily recyclable materials include nearly all metal, glass, paper and plastic, electronic gear and appliances. Most food and plant material can be composted and returned to the soil. Clothes, furniture and toys can be sold or donated. As has been shown in other cities, educating the public and enforcing and incentivizing trash reducing practices would reduce the amount of trash necessary to operate the incinerator. The number of truckloads of trash going to landfills from Allentown could be cut more than 50%. While this statement deals primarily with the environmental aspects of the project, we feel obliged to state we believe the arrangement between Allentown and DTE will be financially far more costly than continuing the present system.

In conclusion, the EAC sees no justification for Allentown to engage in a long term contract that binds it to a system of waste disposal that is potentially both environmentally and financially detrimental to the city and over which it has no control.

Julie Thomases, Chair
Allentown Environmental Advisory Council

EAC DTE Statement – May 13, 2012

City Council can still stop the DTE Enterprise

Hello concerned citizens,

There is still time for City Council to STOP the DTE enterprise. This coming Wednesday 5/16, Council will be voting on an ordinance that accepts three million dollars of grant money for DTE.

May 16, 2012 COUNCIL CHAMBERS 7:00 pm.

10. ORDINANCES FOR FINAL PASSAGE: Bill 26 Establishes Accounts for Waste to Energy Grant Funding

Amending the 2011 Solid Waste Budget to provide for supplemental appropriations of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) from the Department of Energy and Two Million Dollars ($2,000,000) from the Commonwealth Finance Agency.

Please come out to show council with our presence and by speaking out that we want them to not accept this money.