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Group: Al Gore failed us

Evironmentalists: VP broke promise on Ohio incinerator

Associated Press
Friday, March 3, 2000

WASHINGTON--A controversial Ohio incinerator could become a political issue this fall, say activists trying to push Vice President Al Gore on environmental issues as Super Tuesday looms.

Terri Swearingen of the Ohio Valley group Tri-State Environmental Council said at a news conference Thursday that Gore has dashed the hopes of incinerator neighbors who had high expectations when he and Clinton were elected in 1992.

"We're tired of Al Gore and the White House breaking promises," she said. "Is that what we can expect from an Al Gore presidency?"

Rick Hind of Greenpeace, which for more than a decade has helped Swearingen's organization maneuver in Washington, issued a veiled political threat.

He said Ohio voters cast their ballots on Tuesday but that won't end the power of the Waste Technologies Industries incinerator as a political issue.

As she's done repeatedly over the years, Swearingen on Thursday said her group has appealed to Gore's staff for a meeting with the vice president. Vice presidential spokeswoman Melissa Ratcliff said, "They had a meeting with EPA that addresses that."

However, the meeting held at Environmental Protection Agency headquarters didn't mollify Swearingen.

The hazardous waste incinerator sits in a river valley, its tall stack venting smoke near an elementary school sitting on a bluff above.

As vice president-elect in 1992, Gore had promised to block the plant's opening. But after the Clinton administration was sworn in, residents were told an action taken in the final weeks of the Bush presidency made it impossible to stop the plant from opening. Since then, the plant has been the subject of numerous regulatory complaints and a court case.

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