Live Oak —
I am most concerned about the proposed bio-hazard incinerator facility and its health risks coming to our county. I have spent a great deal of time researching the operation of such bio-medical waste thermal reduction facilities that is being considered as an addition to the catalyst site, and I hope that the County Commissioners and other governing bodies in our county have done their homework as well. If they have, then I know they must agree that immediate action must be taken to protect our children, livestock, pets, crops, air and water from already identified cancer-causing elements that this plant will be releasing into the environment.
Whether by choice or chance, I feel the citizens of this county have not been provided relevant information regarding the significant health concerns surrounding this project. The notice to file objection must have been in a microscopic font for me and other concerned citizens to have missed it! Likewise, the action of the board to pass amendment #11 that deleted the requirement of the Commission’s review for special permitting for such a facility, was certainly well timed! For a special permit to have been filed would have brought this matter to the forefront of public awareness and required the board to review such a request. Their action to negate this step is both indefensible and irresponsible! It does not, however, free them from current or future accountability on this or other such matters. I find their action the ultimate in cowardice. You may wish to review the minutes of Baker County Board of Commissioner’s public hearing from April 3, 2012, when such a facility was being considered for location in their county. It provided some excellent scientific information that lead to their county’s wisely refusing to have the facility locate there. You may also wish to listen to Dr. Paul Connett’s lecture on “Health Risks from Waste Incineration” that can also be found on the internet. To briefly summarize Dr. Connett’s presentation, he explains that the incinerators burn hazardous waste which is composed mostly of plastics, which sends out a toxic fog that includes cancer-causing dioxin, mercury, lead and many other carcinogens. As you inhale these toxic nano-particles, which CANNOT be filtered out, go deep into your lungs and cross the membranes into your bloodstream, then travel to reside in any organ in your body, including the brain of you, your children and animals. These particles also contaminate food, water and land. Your body retains these dioxins forever. These nano-particles are so small, they linger for a long time in the air, sending contaminants up to 24 miles in any directions.
Several questions need to be answered, and I feel the Commissioners owe it to the citizens they represent to answer these to the satisfaction of their constituents before negotiations on this project can proceed further:
First: Who will hold the company accountable to insure they do not poison our atmosphere, as we have no local EPA office near our area. That may be why our county has been targeted for this project, plus the fact that our commissioners waived their right of special permitting/review. Who then will do the weekly, biweekly or monthly monitoring of air, soil and well samples in the area?
Second: Can this incinerator contain 100 percent of the poisonous pollutants generated in the process? I have read all about the fabric filters and the bag house which is to help destroy dioxin furans, but what is not destroyed, goes out an 80 foot stack into the atmosphere, and causes Draconian changes in the food chain! In case you feel safe since you do not live close to the catalyst site, be advised that prevailing winds can and do carry these toxins over a vast area.
Third: How will equipment failures be handled since there are no local service technicians available? Does the Commission understand the liability involved in this endeavor?
Fourth: Why do the urban areas that produce most of these toxic wastes not take the responsibility of disposing of them in their own area? I think we know that answer. They would not allow such in their back yard!
We need jobs, but have we weighed the long-term impact this facility would have on our community’s quality of life? We are a rural community, raising crops, livestock and families. Do we want to worry about feeding our family the crops/livestock we raise, eating the mercury infused fish from the Suwannee River, or whether the air itself will cause cancer down the road?
The citizens of this county have a right to live their lives without these worries.
I have no political agenda except to protect those in our community who have not had the opportunity to be informed enough to protect themselves. Commissioners, please take the time to be properly educated on this project before making what may be a catastrophic decision for our area.
Live Oak —
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