The American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware, on behalf of the Sierra Club, has filed a petition with the attorney general asking for a review of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Division Air Quality (DNREC) in its handling of a public hearing.
The DNREC held a public hearing June 4 on a Delaware City Refining Company's permit renewal application. Although 2,000 people were expected to attend, DNREC scheduled the hearing for the Delaware City Community Center auditorium, which has a maximum capacity of 175 people.
The Sierra Club had asked that DNREC re-schedule the hearing to a larger facility to accommodate the expected turnout and the DNREC declined to re-schedule or move the hearing.
"When considering an issue this important, especially when it concerns the health and safety of those living close to the refinery, all measures must be taken to ensure free and open discourse. That's why the Freedom of Information Act, including its requirements for open meetings, was established more than 35 years ago. No state agency can ignore the law because they find it inconvenient," said Kathleen MacRae, executive director of the ACLU of Delaware.
The ACLU of Delaware and the Sierra Club are requesting that an additional hearing be held on the Delaware City Refining Company application, this time with a facility large enough to allow all interested citizens to attend.