Thursday, December 22, 2016

Synagro conceals Plainfield Township biosolids plant review from public, after stating it will be advertised for public participation

Blank page included in Synagro's application falsely leads holder to believe they can't release public information

On October 31, 2016, Synagro submitted a Special Exception Site Plan application to Plainfield Township, on the deadline for appearance at November's planning commission meeting.  A township official reports there was no prior contact by Synagro with the Zoning Officer.  Contacting the Zoning Officer prior to submitting an application is typical, because an Applicant usually wants to get approval of the their use prior to proceeding with an expensive Site Plan and preparation.  In the case of a $20m plant, you would want to get it right.

The submission of an application requires the planning commission to place a review on its agenda, and the Site Plan to be submitted to the township engineer for comment prior to the review.  There is only one conclusion one can draw, who is familiar with the process and the modus operandi of business applicants.  Those who file on the deadline invariably do not want the public to know about their application, and/or know that their use is not allowed and/or associated variances are not merited.  In this case, it is likely all of the above.

Let's look at a piece of evidence.  In the package that Synagro submitted, there is 6 pages of public relations fluff that is not necessary to the application and serves no purpose other than possibly to sway the planners to believe Synagro's use is "green" and a great idea.  Actually it is 5 pages of text, plus the blank page at the top of this post.  As you read continue reading below, consider why that blank page may have been submitted.

The first thing to notice is that on each page, diagonally there are the faint words "DO NOT COPY".  Interestingly, if you copy or fax this document, those words disappear.  The facsimile attached is from photos.  Now, why would those words be there?  Once submitted, that document is public information, and would have to be released in a Right to Know Request, IF THE PUBLIC KNEW TO REQUEST IT.  But there was no requirement for the township to notify the residents, and Synagro knew this.  Those words are there to falsely lead the recipients of it to believe they can't copy it.  How nice that the words evaporate if someone does inadvertently copy it.  Give the person who came up with this a raise.

This document contains the following statement at the bottom of page 4: "Public notifications and hearings will be advertised to provide public participation in the process by making available project information and the opportunity to offer comments and address questions."

Advertising fluff in Synagro's application, with false claim that public will be notified
of public review meeting and "DO NOT COPY" plastered across it

Unlike what Synagro represented in this document, they did NOT notify the public of the Nov 21, 2016 meeting.  The reason is crystal clear - they wanted a recommendation from the planners that night, with no warning to residents.  Robert Cornman, Jr., Vice Chairman, tried on multiple occasions that night to move the application forward, despite having recused himself from motions (!) due to his position as vice president of Green Knight Economic Development Corporation.  By the time the public knew Synagro's plans, they would already have a recommendation from the planning commission.  That is how the game works, and the intent is to DECEIVE the public, and not involve them.  DISGRACEFUL.

What Synagro did do, is publish this document (without "DO NOT COPY") on their website the following day, Nov 22, 2016, along with a press release dated Nov 22, 2016 for the "Slate Belt Heat Recovery Center".  Public opportunity to participate and offer comments and questions my ass.

Plainfield Planning Commission member Robert Cornman, Jr.'s Green Knights announces to public that Synagro is in town the day AFTER his planning commission holds public meeting to review application.  Thanks for the heads up to the community you're supposed to be benefiting, Green Knights!  This is a crock of shit.

Green Knight is supposed to be helping the community - like letting it know there will be a public meeting to discuss plans to locate a 400-ton per day crap processing plant in town.  Fail.

You may ask "why isn't is called the 'Synagro Biosolids Plant'?"  Good question.  Green Knight's plan to recover heat from its Energy Center's turbines died on the vine in 2003 when Techo Bloc bought all three parcels that were to be the "Slate Belt Industrial Center".  Without a manufacturer that could consume Green Knight's waste heat on a nearby site, the plan died.  Until resurrected recently, that is, by placing the consumer where it can't be placed, on Waste Managment's lot that is already being used.  There seems to be a fascination of Waste Management and its nonprofit arm GKEDC with prefacing everything in the area with "Slate Belt".  Placing "Green Knight" in the name of the nonprofit makes everyone think of the school's mascot, but what has Green Knight done for the school recently?  Contribute to the band, the athletic department?  Simply put, the name "Slate Belt Heat Recovery Center" resurrects and idea from Green Knight's infancy - an idea that died shortly after the Energy Center opened.

The substance of the PR document above is as one would expect, and won't be covered in this post.  One thing to note is it states that the source of the shit is the "Tri-State area," yet in a recent Morning Call article Synagro Project Manager Jim Hecht states shit will come from Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.  Mr. Hecht, please get your story straight.  We know that Pennsylvania is not in the Tri-State area, but Connecticut is.  There isn't lipstick made thick enough to cover this pig.

Now that the solid waste has hit the fan, and Plainfield Township's BOS and residents from Wind Gap and Pen Argyl are yelling "no mas shit!", Synagro has announced they will hold "public information" sessions on Jan 9 at the Plainfield Twp Fire Company and Jan 10 and Weona Park.  You have to ask why they didn't hold such sessions prior to November 21.  Or do you?  Green Knight should be questioned heavily at these meetings what the hell they are doing partnering with Synagro, since their mission is to "benefit poor and distressed local citizens".  How exactly is this proposal in line with their mission?

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