Abraham Lincoln said, “The probability that we shall fail in this struggle should not deter us from the support of a cause that we believe is just.” Such a cause for us is opposition to the biomass plant.
Given its support from city and county officials more concerned about doing the bidding of the rich and powerful than they are about the health of children, it is likely a “done deal.” Done by those who will profit from the deal.
None of the national health organizations endorse biomass plants as safe for children. The American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and the World Health Organization have concluded that biomass plants pose serious threats to children.
None of the deal makers, investors, or politicians who signed off on their deal live in the community which will most be affected by the poisonous toxins that will fill the air. Their children don’t attend the schools, nor do they attend any of the seven area churches.
Meetings have been held on the biomass project. Some by the Industrial Authority, WACE, the NAACP, and SCLC. And not a single citizen has spoken in favor of it. When I asked a council member about this, he said, “They are afraid of you.”
It is not the proponents who have anything to fear.
They are protected by the investors and their political allies. It is the opponents who have to be concerned about being arrested, taken to the Lowndes County Jail, denied bail, and put in solitary confinement. That was my experience on May 5, 2005. My crime, and that of 14 others, was petitioning the city to rename a park for someone who looked like the people where the park was located. The law, “Disrupting a public meeting,” under which we were charged was later declared unconstitutional by the Georgia Supreme Court.
The opponents of this misadventure have been accused of grandstanding, and our appearance before city council described as “theatre.” Veterans of the Civil Rights and anti-war movements of the 80s and 70s have heard it all before. But students of history understand that everything that is faced is not changed. And “Cautious, careful people, neither change anything, not even their own minds.”
Nothing is more disappointing than to see candidates who, when they are seeking office, are against something and promise to change it, and when they are elected, they are for what they were against.
Floyd Rose is a Valdosta resident.