GTC Votes Down Gasification, Waste To Energy, or Plastics Recycling Facilities
By Nate Wisneski - Kalihwisaks
The General Tribal Council (GTC) took action blocking any
gasification, waste-to-energy, or plastics recycling facilities developed by
Oneida Seven Generations Corporation (OSGC) within reservation boundaries
during a special meeting on Sunday, May 5 at the Radisson Hotel and Conference
Center. The GTC also passed a per capita plan paying $1,000 annually for 2014,
2016, and 2017.
Both of OSGC’s facilities are in a state of flux. Their
Green Bay waste-to-energy facility is working its way through the legal system.
OSGC appealed a January ruling by Brown County Circuit Court Judge Marc Hammer
upholding the Green Bay City Council’s decision to rescind a conditional use
permit (CUP) in October of 2012.
Sunday’s GTC ruling now stops plans for a plastics to oil
facility at N7329 Water Circle Place in Oneida. Sunday’s decision prohibits any gasification,
waste-to-energy, or plastics recycling facilities within boundaries but does
allow OSGC to develop and implement these technologies outside the reservation.
OSGC declined comment on any future plans but did say they will cooperate with
the GTC’s wishes.
“The GTC is the ultimate authority. The corporation respects
their decision and will follow the GTC’s directive,” said OSGC Board Chairman
Before supporting Leah Dodge’s petition seeking the ban, the
GTC nearly tabled the topic. OSGC’s presentation featured technological
glitches, at no fault of their own, and was not able to show their full
presentation. That with the amount of time already spent on the agenda’s other
topics some felt it was best to re-approach the petition at a later date. The
table was voted down by a vote of 755 to 814. Petition support was passed by a
simple hand vote.
Dodge was pleased with the outcome.
“I'm proud of GTC for defending itself against OBC and OSGC
which is a first step in showing the world that GTC isn't buying what OSGC is
selling, and the next steps are to divest the Tribe of the incineration
business and dissolve some corporations, while setting and enforcing higher
standards for corporate behavior,” said Dodge. “Some officials seem to think
they simply need to better explain OSGC's projects because GTC just doesn't
understand how wonderful their incineration plans are, but I'll continue to
work with other GTC members to make it clear: We understand perfectly well what
they're up to, and we plan to stop them.”
Shortly after the meeting the tribe released a statement on
the results of the GTC meeting.
“Tribal members have made their position clear – we have
more questions than answers (about the gasification plant) – and until that
changes, members are uncomfortable supporting the proposed facility,” the
statement said. “We have to be cautious, however, that we as a tribe don’t
prematurely derail innovative ideas that protect and improve the environment
and create jobs.”
A New Per Capita Plan
The GTC took action accepting a new per capita plan paying
$1,000 annually for 2014, 2015, and 2016. The current plan is set to expire
after this year’s payment. In 2008 the GTC approved the current plan and
directed the Oneida Business Committee to develop and implement a GTC approved plan
for fiscal year 2014.
The new plan was passed after a petition requesting $1,500
annually over three years was voted down. Initially, Chairman Delgado refused
to acknowledge the $1,500 per year motion citing the
current financial situation of the tribe.
“It’s a fiscally irresponsible motion that endangers the
future of our tribe. That’s why I’m not recognizing it,” said Delgado.
The Chairman’s decision was appealed and overturned allowing
the GTC to vote down the $1,500 petition.