Dear Editor: I live in District 2 on Hwy. 172, 1.5 miles north of the new Georgia Renewable Power (GRP) Biomass Plant. I drive by the plant frequently and have been watching the installation process since it began. I admit that I wasn’t overly concerned at first, but my own personal observations and what other citizens are experiencing have me in fear of how this plant will impact our health and quality of life.

I think Zach Mitcham “hit the nail on the head” in his article, “Public Health and the Power Plant,” (MCJ Oct. 17). He states: “The new GRP plant in Colbert is a tale of two perspectives in Madison County: money and health.” This is so blatantly obvious when you listen to what the power plant management, our senator and even our county leaders have to say and then hear the concerns of the citizens.

We were told by GRP that all we would see was a “plume of water vapor.” Yet, what I see is black smoke belching out of a smoke stack. We were told that no treated wood would be burned but now they’re burning toxic creosote-soaked railroad ties. I smell odors resembling burning plastic at my house. I hear loud rumbling noises forcing me to close my windows in order to sleep. At times when I sit on my porch, I feel the ground vibrating in accompaniment with the noise.

When David Groves, the GRP plant manager, spoke to the Rotary Club of Madison County he made statements such as, “For these plants, we’re looking at industrial residues and forestry crops and…and potentially peanut shells.” I don’t see any “peanut shells” over at the plant. What I do see is a growing stockpile of creosote-soaked railroad ties. As I write this letter, the pile of railroad ties in front of the plant is 300-feet long, nine-ties deep and 12-15 feet high, about the size of a football field. Additionally, there are 15 railroad cars, used to deliver the railroad ties, lined up on the tracks in front of the stockpile. I know this because I just drove over to the plant so I could present concise data, not hearsay.

Frank Ginn, our senator and IDA director says things like, “It’s not a perfect world…Health concerns, not at all…Noise, it’s one of those things.” The chairman of our Board of Commissioners (BOC) feels we should “wait and see” and take our concerns to the plant not the BOC. Wait a minute, our elected officials work for us. They should be concerned about people’s health and welfare, not just money.

I’m standing with the three health and biophysical scientists (“Madison Co. scientists voice concern about power plant,” MCJ Oct. 31). They did thorough research, presented data and facts regarding serious health concerns, and then offered solutions that were not “wait and see.” I agree with them: creosote railroad ties should not be burned; noise levels should be monitored and reduced; GRP should honor their promise to be good neighbors.

Sincerely,

Ruth Ann Tesanovich,

Medical Laboratory Scientist, MLS(ASCP), B.S.M.T.

Colbert

(1) comment

WJ Smith

It appears this goose laying the golden egg of tax benefits is fast becoming an albatross around the neck of Madison County. All we could hear was how great it was going to be and how the tax windfall was going to do wonderful things for the County> Now we are obligated to pay for a multi-million dollar water line and pumping station to a power generation plant that is likely not going to survive unless they make changes in their choice of fuel. Several of us tried to tell the "powers" to slow down and look closer but we were met with 'there is a deadline on getting it here and producing power' speeches.

My people and I will be voting against anyone who runs against Ginn and the Commission Chairman in any future elections. You men and the IDA may wear this thing around your neck for many years unless you find a way to stop these chemical bombs from being burned here

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