LTE: Biomass is Environmental Racism

This is a letter to the editor that appeared in the VDT on about 17 August 2010.


When Wiregrass Power chose the site for their Biomass plant, they put it near one of Valdosta’s most affluent black communities. There are at least six black churches:  New Life Ministries, Morning Star, Evangel Temple, Southside Church of Christ, Church of Prophecy, Church at Pine Hill. Two predominantly black elementary schools are in the area: Southeast and Moulton Branch. A large senior citizen assisted living community, Sands Horizon, is located in the affected area and serves over 60 families. Scott Park, where the Sands Horizon residents enjoy outings and the local children enjoy baseball games, is located nearby. Huge apartment complexes with several buildings, Park Chase and Brittany Woods, whose residents are primarily people of color, are located near the proposed site.
There is no doubt that the people closest to Wiregrass Power’s proposed Biomass plant are black people.

What is most horrifying about the Wiregrass Power Biomass plant is the danger it presents to children and the elderly. The American Lung Association condemns these plants as particularly dangerous to children and elderly. For those families with loved ones at Sands Horizon, Moulton Branch and Southeast, I strongly recommend you hold your public officials accountable for endangering their health.

Please join the NAACP to fight Environmental Racism.

Leigh Touchton, President
Lowndes-Valdosta NAACP
610 Mack Drive
Valdosta, GA 31602

Errata from Leigh Touchton:
John, my mistake was in putting Moulton-Branch in where I should have put JL Lomax. And then Natasha updated me that there’s 7 black churches nearby not 6. Moulton-Branch is predominantly white however it is predominantly lower-income white. Within 2 miles we get the third elementary school, Southeast, which is predominantly black.