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 William Cornelius.

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.