Move on, find other avenues, other projects —Ashley Paulk

Ashley Paulk agrees with my mother about what the Industrial Authority should do.

At the Lowndes County Commission meeting last night, Chairman Paulk discussed the biomass plant with Dr. Noll, and said:

Certain people won’t share it with you, and I don’t think it’s fair.

We were approached … almost three weeks ago by the Industrial Authority and we were asked to … ask them not to extend the contract. Well, it’s not our contract; we could do that, but … we didn’t.

And then last week the Tuesday of their meeting, I received a call … on my way back fromm Atlanta and they had gone up there to talk to Wiregrass Power, because they’d written a letter asking for an extension.

My understanding was that they asked Wiregrass to write another letter to remove that extension request.

These are things, I think should be public knowledge.

There’s more in the video.

Regular meeting of the Lowndes County Commission, Lowndes County, Georgia, 26 April 2011
Video by Alex Rowell for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

He told me several weeks ago about the commission being asked to vote not to extend. I figured it was up to him to say something in public about what the Commission would do. I did publish my paraphrase of what he said then that the plant has no business case because nobody would buy the electricity.

Chairman Paulk said he thought Dr. and Mrs. Noll had been ignored by various bodies. Then he had some advice for the Industrial Authority.

This is not the commission talking, this is Ashley Paulk. If they disagree with me, they can say so. It think the facts should be public. Certain authorities shouldn’t be hiding behind us, or other commissions, or anything else. There haven’t been any plans filed. … I don’t see any way in the world they’re going to start building without a permit, because you can’t get a permit in 30 days.
Here’s one thing he was leading up to:
And you don’t see my agree with John Quarterman very often. He’s my neighbor and my friend. He stated the other night that his mother said, that when you’re wrong admit it. I think they would be well and it’s my advice to them publicly, move on, find other avenues, other projects.
He’s referring to what I said at the most recent VLCIA board meeting, which was:
My mother was a schoolteacher for many years, Roy Copeland knew her. She used to say, “it takes a big man to admit it when he’s wrong.”
LAKE hasn’t published anything about that, because I didn’t video myself and we’ve been waiting for video from another party. So presumably my neighbor Ashley Paulk read about it in the VDT. David Rodock’s condensed but correct in spirit VDT version was:
During the citizens to be heard portion of the meeting, John Quarterman made a number of suggestions to board members.

“Are you aware that Texas is canceling plans for at least three additional prisons? One has already been closed,” said Quarterman. “Texas realized they could not afford to pay for these prisons. That money’s gone into rehabilitation, education and prevention – things we could do right here.”

He continued, “If Remerton and Dasher can make meeting minutes public, it’s something to consider. My mother used to tell me that it takes a big man to admit when’s he wrong.”

I did mention biomass in the same context, so I’m guessing my neighbor heard more than was in the VDT, perhaps from Crawford Powell, who was sitting there at the time in the VLCIA meeting, even though he declined an offer by VLCIA Chairman Jerry Jennett to speak a that time.

Back to last night’s LCC meeting. Dr. Noll responded to Chairman Paulk saying he would continue opposing the plant until it was actually cancelled. He discussed the runaround and stonewalling by other government bodies, and thanked Chairman Paulk for informing the public.

I think that’s the right approach, as I said at the 7 April Valdosta City Council meeting.

And I continue to ask what will the activists do when the plant is cancelled?

Meanwhile, one result of all the biomass-related activism is that it has meshed with other activism to produce at least this kind of actual interaction between the only elected body that represents all of Lowndes County and its citizens.

Imagine that! We might get some transparency around here!


4 thoughts on “Move on, find other avenues, other projects —Ashley Paulk

  1. Leigh Touchton

    I totally agree with Chairman Paulk in this paragraph: “Certain authorities shouldn’t be hiding behind us, or other commissions, or anything else.” I think it’s indicative of a very strange and troubling problem with the VLCIA that they would contact Chairman Paulk and ask the Commission to take responsibility for this community problem.
    But I still hold the Lowndes County Commission accountable for voting to rezone the land so the biomass incinerator could be built. Joyce Evans has grandchildren in the area, and she voted along with the 2 other commissioners at the time to rezone the property, and she told me personally that the reason she did so was because Dr. Tom Manning at VSU gave remarks to County Commission that the biomass incinerator was safe. For the gentle readers out there who have not been following this saga, Dr. Manning was routinely trotted out by Brad Lofton (VLCIA Executive Director who abruptly resigned) as a scientist who supported the biomass incinerator. (Dr. Manning is a chemist at VSU).

  2. Leigh Touchton

    I don’t know what WACE is going to do when the plant is cancelled, but NAACP is already working on the private prison issue, school consolidation, and potential recall of certain VBOE members. I assume WACE is going to start working on getting state laws changed so that solar is given a fair opportunity to compete in the energy marketplace in Georgia. Public officials are telling us that Georgia Power has a monopoly and has gotten Georgia laws passed that prohibit solar from being used in Georgia to the same extent that it is used in Florida and other southern states.

  3. Karen Noll

    I am pleased that Ashley Paulk decided to speak publicly about the current events at the Industrial Authority. This is a step in the right direction for us all. His presentation points out at least two important issues for our community. The Industrial Authority has no real guidance about the types of industry that are green, clean or safe for our community. WACE has a role in defining the clean energy/clean industry avenues that this community would like to see brought to our community. That said, we need to look very closely at the hiring process at the IA for the new Executive Director, since this person needs to be able to work with ALL parts of the community as it seeks to bring industry to our community. The Other point I take from this speech is that recently the commission desired to limit citizens speaking about this topic calling WACE’s continued effort to bring the various aspects of the biomass project to the public light, a ‘waste of tax-payer dollars’. Excuse me, but holding a meeting in that ENORmous building with no agenda, rendering citizens to be heard the ONLY agenda item, is a waste of tax dollars. I would object more loudly except that it happened to be the first exchange of info with our local officials at a meeting to date. I can only hope that CTBH can be a source of transparency in this manner.

  4. Leigh Touchton

    I want to publicly thank Chairman Paulk for his comments last night. I know he’ll probably take some heat from the other men at VLCIA who were asking him to use the Lowndes County Commission to make the biomass incinerator go away, I presume so they would not have to answer to a certain group of their business associates, but whatever the reason, Chairman Paulk called them on it.
    Everyone knows I rarely agree with Chairman Paulk, yet I am truly grateful for what he said publicly, for saying that decisions from local officials need to be made publicly and that citizens deserve answers from their public officials.
    Thank you, I am truly grateful that you said that, Chairman Paulk.

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