ASHWAUBENON - The Oneida General Tribal Council votes in favor of a petition prohibiting any type of waste-to-energy plant on reservation land.
That vote of the GTC came down early Sunday evening at a special meeting at the Radisson Hotel in Ashwaubenon.
On the agenda was to review a circulated petition that sought to block the construction of any type of waste-to-energy plant on the reservation by Oneida Seven Generations Corporation, or OSGC. It was looking to build the plant at Water Tower Place off of Highway 54. The OSGC is the business arm of the tribe.
The petition received the required amount of signatures to be put before the tribe Sunday.
"They made their decision, and I believe they made the right decision," said Oneida Business Committee Chairman Ed Delgado after the meeting adjourned.
That – nearly five hours after roughly 1,800 Oneidas, 21 and older, walked into the closed door meeting.
Outside were signs of opposition to the hot-button issue of construction of a waste-to-energy plant on tribal land.
Delgado says the decision by tribe was the right one.
"The General Tribal Council, made up of almost 2,000 people, today made their decision and I believe they made the right decision," said Delgado.
The issue was whether the tribe was willing to direct its business committee to stop Oneida Seven Generations Corporation – from building a gasification, waste-to-energy or plastics recycling plant on tribal land.
OSGC declined FOX 11's request to comment on the vote.
Tribe members had mixed reaction to OSGC's plans.
"The presentation I've seen, it's safe," said tribe member Paul Smith. "It will make money and they got orders for the oil already."
"I don't think it's proven that it's safe, I don't think that it's proven that it's going to make money," said Paul Smith's brother Jay Smith. "I just think there's too many questions."
"The people have spoken," said Leah Dodge, who started circulating a petition in January to put the issue before the GTC.
"Our business committee had failed to protect the Oneida people from its Corporation, the Oneida Seven Generations Corporation," said Dodge. "But this is the people speaking to protect themselves, their children, the Oneida Reservation; and of course, all of our people and our friends and our neighbors that aren't Oneida as well."
Dodge says after this victory for her cause, calls for the dissolving of OSGC could follow.
While separate from OSGC's current legal battle to build a waste-to-energy plant in the city of Green Bay, Dodge says she will continue to fight those plans as well.
Delgado wouldn't say if this would be the last time this specific issue would come before the tribe, as all members have the right to the petition process.
Tribe members who register and stay for the duration of the meeting are paid a $100.
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