Why Sunbury, PA Mayor Supports Marcellus Waste Facility

As MDN reported yesterday, Clean Harbors Environmental Services of Norwell, Mass. wants to build a Marcellus Shale waste processing facility in Sunbury, PA (see this MDN story). Some area residents are not happy about it, but not so with Mayor David Persing. He supports it and offers his thinking and rationale for supporting the proposed project:

Recently, city residents have expressed concerns about Clean Harbors Environmental Services of Norwell, Mass, using part of the former Celotex grounds as a proposed waste transfer station for 1,000 tons of residual waste from the Marcellus shale industry, either in liquid or solid form.

"People seem to forget that, two years ago, there was this huge empty building that may have sat empty for 50 years," the mayor said. "I don’t think that Moran Industries (the owner of the site) would invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into the site to just put in a waste pit that is going to bring toxic waste and incur millions of dollars in fines."

Persing said he understands the public’s concerns, but said there is a lot of misinformation.

"Everyone is talking about frack water coming in, but nowhere in the permit does it say anything about ‘frack water,’ but frack water waste," he said. "The industry is so regulated currently if we find some wrong waste, DEP can track where it came from due to its composition. There is nothing corrupt going on here. The city won’t allow that."

Northumberland County Commissioners Vinny Clausi and Stephen Bridy attended a Sunbury City Council meeting Monday night and offered their help. The county hired an engineer Tuesday to look over the permit Clean Harbors filed with DEP.

"I know people have 100 questions about this, and I know that some people will not be satisfied anyway," Persing said. "I feel this could be a positive thing for the city and help to attract more industry to that site and the city. We are cautious and have concerns, but we can look at it positively as well."*

*Shamokin (PA) The News Item (Mar 29, 2012) – Mayor fights woes, maintains optimism