Video by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.
1) In late February of 2011 we read in the Valdosta Daily Times that a “food service center for needy senior citizens” was about to close its doors because of a lack of funds, and if it wasn’t for an anonymous donor, it might actually have done so.
At the same time we are discussing a gateway project to beautify interstate exits with the kind of funds that would have supported this food center for perhaps three years.
What are our priorities?
2) Not too long ago Lowndes County was awarded $107,000 in Hazard Mitigation grand funding for the purchase of 5,000 NOAA weather radios, radios that could have informed citizens in the county from impending bad weather, thereby potentially saving lives.
Yet, Commissioner Raines stated that he was against wasteful spending and the Commission proceeded to reject the grant. (Commissioner Evans opposed the measure.)
If the County Commission truly wants to set an example for being fiscally responsible, you could do so by stopping a biomass plant that not only threatens our health, but also wastes MILLIONS of our tax dollars. Yet, you are still supporting this project. Why?
What are your priorities?
3) Commissioner Powell: I have approached you a month ago with a question, which you have not been able to answer: how can an Industrial Authority continue to claim that it is using the “best available control technology” to protect the citizens of Lowndes County, when it in fact is not, as a comparison with the biomass plant in Gainesville indicates?
In the end, the simple truth is this: elected officials in our community seem more interested in short-term profits than long-term benefits, and that the health and well-being of our community is secondary to the imagined profits made by a few from a biomass plant.
Why do I say imaginary profits? A variety of proposed biomass plants have been cancelled within the last couple months: from Mason County in Washington, to Warren County in Georgia, from Hamilton County in Florida, to Ashland County in Wisconsin.
Why have they been canceled? Because biomass bears significant health risks, wastes our tax dollars, and is a risky economic adventure. It is time that the leaders in our community do what is best for all of us and stop this insane biomass project.
On a last note: I am sharing with you a copy of a letter sent by the Sierra Club to the current Executive Director of the Industrial Authority. This letter reiterates what we have been telling you for months: our community has been systematically misinformed about the realities of biomass, or about the support it supposedly enjoys. How much more evidence do you need until you realize who is telling you the truth and who is lying to you?
Now that Mr. Lofton is moving on, it is time for our community to start anew, and canceling the biomass project will have to be the first step for such a new beginning to be meaningful.