Letter to the Editor

First Posted: 12/20/2009

To the Editor,

Stop the Smoke before it stops YOU.
At a March 2009 public meeting in Dobson, Fibrowatt I heard representative Terry Walmsley compare Fibrowatt emissions to that of a burning cigarette.
Fibrowatt plans a 330 ft. tall incinerator/power plant near Elkin, on the banks of our beautiful Yadkin river, on a dangerous narrow and winding country road with blind curves in one of our most scenic areas. This poorly located, spot zoned site will be fed by approx. 100 tractor trailer trucks per day loaded to the max with chicken litter and wood waste.
Chicken litter, like composted tobacco, is a valuable fertilizer for the soil but, like tobacco smoke when burned poisons our air. According to Centers for Disease Control, there is no safe level of tobacco smoke which contains over 4000 chemicals and many are deadly toxic. Forty two, Surry Co. physicians and eleven pharmacists signed a petition based on increased health risks to citizens to stop Fibrowatt. Even though Fibrowatts’ Minn. Plant is allowed to emit millions of pounds of pollution per year it was recently fined $65,000 for violating emission limits.
What a paradox that N.C. legislators banned smoking in restaurants effective Jan. 1st, because of health hazards and yet may permit this 330 ft. tall cigarette smoke stack in our back yard. Surely if legislators had known about the similarities to smoke from Fibrowatt to smoke from cigarettes they would have banned Fibrowatt along with cigarette smoke in public places.
Besides the danger of a head on collision with one of their huge trucks on a blind curve, the plant if allowed to be built, will pollute our air and water, harm our winery, tourist and retirement industry, decrease our property values and increase our utility bills. Once built and the incinerator proves to be the toxic, wasteful and inefficient energy producer that it is, how many millions will it cost to tear it down and clean up the toxic site? There is currently no plan requiring Fibrowatt to create a trust fund for clean up so these costs could fall to the county.
Surry County, the Napa Valley of the East, has much to offer, many desirable and undesirable companies will woo us. We must be selective, as the more desirable companies, tourists and retirees will expect clean air and water and once relocated here, will work hard to help keep it that way. Call your county commissioners and state representatives and ask that work hard to stop the smoke before it stops you!

Barry Carlton
Yadkin Riverkeepers member

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