Proposed plant has residents in an uproar - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Proposed plant has residents in an uproar

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March 10, 2004

Berrien County - The building on Garner Road currently occupied by Hood Landscaping Company could soon be home to a new incinerating plant. "This county is a family and we have an intruder trying to come in," said John Howeth.

And a group of concerned citizens will stop at nothing to keep the new company out of Berrien County. "We don't want the waste and toxins that's going to cause our future generations to have birth defects, cancers, and other dangers," said Howeth.

The plant would primarily be used to burn tires and chemical waste. Christi Griffin lives four miles from the proposed site, and is concerned about the safety of her two young children. "You have water pollution that could result from this plant and also air admissions that travel and have dangerous toxins in the air," said Griffin.

Right now the land is zoned agricultural, and for the plant to move in, it would have to be changed to heavy industrial. But people living in this area hope county commissioners won't let that happen. "We'll try to have a good presentation and enough support behind us so the commissioners will vote no," said Howeth.

Howeth says even if the plant uses filters to contain the dangerous chemicals, it won't be 100 percent effective. "The most effective scrubbers and electrostatic filters are only 80 percent effective, so you still have at least 20 percent going into the air," said Howeth.

And more than just Berrien County could feel the effects. "Depending on the direction of the wind, these chemicals can travel hundreds of miles," said Howeth.

A public hearing will be held April 5th at the county commissioners office to discuss rezoning the land. These citizens hope they'll have enough support to keep the incinerating plant out of their neighborhood.

posted at 2:45 by ashley.harper@walb.com