July 16, 2008
Remarks Made in
Lancaster & York, Pa.
District Attorney John Morganelli, Democratic Candidate for Attorney General Says Attorney General Tom Corbett
Sides With Corporate Sludge Haulers Against Rural Pennsylvanians
In many rural parts of Pennsylvania, citizens acting through their elected local officials are uniting to protect their
communities from the serious dangers associated with the spreading of “sludge”and “biosolids” on Pennsylvania’s
farmland. Unfortunately, we have an attorney general, Tom Corbett, who is on the side of corporate sludge haulers
and against rural Pennsylvanians. Mr. Corbett threatened Pennsylvania’s rural communities back in 2006, and now he
is making good on his threat by doing everything he can to interfere with the wishes of rural Pennsylvanians. I am here
today to condemn Attorney General Tom Corbett’s blatant use of the power of the government to intimidate ordinary
people who want a safe environment in which to live, and his use of public resources to fight on behalf of corporate
interests against our citizens.
As many of you know, a number of municipalities in Pennsylvania have enacted ordinances that ban the spreading of
sludge on farmland. By definition, “sludge” consists of both human waste and other sewage, which could potentially
include industrial toxins and heavy metals that are not removed in the process. We are not merely talking about human
waste. While the term “sludge” has often been equated to only human waste, “biosolids” is wastewater treated by
municipal sewage systems and in addition to human waste, can include toxic metals, pathogens, mortuary waste and
hazardous hospital waste as well as hundreds of other chemicals. Anything flushed down a drain in home, factory or
hospital ends up as a biosolid and there have been documented ill effects on people. Cities such as Baltimore and
Philadelphia pay corporations to take their waste. Those same corporations then distribute the waste to farms. One of
the largest companies, Synagro, has impacted Pennsylvania. Synagro transported over 13,000 tons of biosolids onto
Pennsylvania farms in 2007.
In 2006 when the state enacted the Agricultural, Communities and Rural Environment Act, known as ACRE, The
Evening Sun Newspaper reported that Attorney General Tom Corbett threatened Pennsylvania’s rural communities with
lawsuits should they try to get in the way of state sanctioned spreading of corporate sludge. Since then, Mr. Corbett
has carried out his threat against rural Pennsylvania. In a number of municipalities, Attorney General Tom Corbett has
agreed to intervene and use the power and resources of state government to fight against the wishes and desire of
our citizens who only want to protect their communities from environmental contamination by sludge. Over in East
Brunswick Township, Schuylkill County for example, Attorney General Corbett is carrying the ball for J.C. Hills Tree
Farm, a private company, against the citizens of East Brunswick Township. Mr. Corbett wants to have all such
municipal ordinances in Pennsylvania declared illegal.
On July 2, 2008, the Republican Herald newspaper reported that on a visit to Schuylkill County, Corbett essentially told
local governments to mind their own business when it comes to the spreading of sludge on farmland. Mr. Corbett also
misrepresented the truth to the citizens when he stated that it was his “duty” as attorney general to enforce the
Agricultural, Communities and Rural Environment Act known as ACRE . That assertion is entirely false. The law states
clearly that the attorney general may bring action against a local government, but it is certainly not his responsibility or
“duty” to do so.
Let me read directly from the law, Section 314 b of ACRE states: “The Attorney General has the discretion whether to
bring an action…” Section 315a of ACRE states, “The Attorney General may bring an action against the local
government … to invalidate the unauthorized local ordinance … .”
This is important, ladies and gentleman. Your current attorney general, Tom Corbett, absolutely does not need to
bring these cases against your local governments. No law requires him to do so. No law requires him to use state
resources to bring lawsuits against you. He is doing this because he wants to do it The law that Mr. Corbett has been
referencing in defense of his action against you and in support of corporate sludge haulers is completely
discretionary. Not only is this not necessary, but in my opinion, it is an irresponsible use of public resources on behalf
of private big corporations.
So, today I am here to tell you that if elected attorney general of Pennsylvania , one of my first acts will be to withdraw
the OAG from participation in all of these sludge lawsuits. There is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the health
effects of sludge use, and citizens acting through their local governments have a right to protect their communities. I will
not use your tax money to overturn your own decisions and fight the battles for corporations. As attorney general, I
will leave these decisions to you, the members of the community, and focus my attention and state resources on those
issues that will address the interests of the community as a whole, not the private interests of corporate America.
CONTACT: John Morganelli 610-248-7701