OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis (WFRV) The Oneida Land Commission signed off on Oneida Seven Generations new waste-to-energy plant on tribal lands in Outagamie County Wednesday, but one group of tribe members is trying to block the decision.
"It's just another step in the fight," says Oneida Tribe member Leah Dodge.
Dodge doesn't want a gassification plant built near her home.
Wednesday, the Oneida Land Commission voted unanimously to approve the project, pending tribal and environmental reviews.
"We are charged with being caretakers of the land and we take that responsibility very seriously," says Division of Land Management Director Fred Muscavitch.
Only four members of the seven member Land Commission voted on the issue. Two members were absent and Chairperson Patricia Cornelius, mother of Oneida Seven Generations CEO Kevin Cornelious, recused herself from the meeting.
Commission members say the vote is the first step in a long process, but Dodge is fighting back. She got more than 80 people to sign a petition blocking the waste-to-energy plant from being built anywhere on Oneida tribal lands.
"Many of the people in my neighborhood, in our community, they are against this," says Dodge.
Dodge says she is worried about emissions coming from the proposed site, the Oneida Food Distribution Center.
"The building itself won't be changed as far as I know, and the actual structure that's there now will be the structure that houses the units," says Phil Wisneski from Oneida Tribe Communications.
Oneida Seven Generations is under the Oneida Nation umbrella, but is run by an independent group.
When asked if there will be smokestacks on the new site, Wisneski said that he could not confirm or deny their existence in the design.
"We hear from one representative one story about it, we hear from another one something else the next week. It almost seems like the message is crafted to try to convince whoever they are talking to that it is safe," says Dodge.
The petition will be reviewed by the Oneida Business Committee over the next 30 days before possibly going to the General Tribal Council for a vote.