Tag Archives: environmental racism

Do you miss him yet? Brad Lofton in SC

He may be gone, but he’s still up to his old tricks, and he’s using us for a reference.

Adva Saldinger wrote in The Sun News 8 May 2011, Lofton hits ground running in new post; CEO asking taxpayers for $1.6 million:

The new Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp. president and chief executive is by many accounts aggressive and personable, and he says, ready to take charge and bring much needed jobs to the area quickly.

Brad Lofton said he will bring 500 jobs in the first 18 months, and an average of 500 jobs each year over the next five to 10 years.

And a pony!

Has anybody verified the jobs Lofton claimed he brought to Lowndes County? Continue reading

Environmental Justice –Leigh Touchton @ VLCIA 15 March 2011

Chairman Jerry Jennett asked for Citizens Wishing to be Heard, and first up was Leigh Touchton, President of Valdosta-Lowndes NAACP, who presented them a letter from Dr. Robert D. Bullard, about his findings that 80% of the residents within one mile of the proposed Wiregrass Power Plant are black and 75% of biomass facilities in Georgia are sited in minority/poor communities.
“This is what is called environmental racism.”
She also said she was tired of people who are against biomass being represented as a fanatical fringe crew, primarily by Mr. Lofton, considering she stood before them representing the local NAACP, the Georgia state conference of the NAACP, “the largest organization non-profit of voters in the state of Georgia”, and the national NAACP.


Leigh Touchton, President, Valdosta-Lowndes NAACP
regular monthly meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA)
Norman Bennett, Roy Copeland, Tom Call, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett chairman,
J. Stephen Gupton attorney, Brad Lofton Executive Director, Allan Ricketts Program Manager,
15 March 2011.
Videos by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Perhaps I missd it because I was a few minutes late, but this was the only mention of the Wiregrass Power LLC biomass plant that I heard at this VLCIA board meeting.

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Why is the VDT suddenly anti-biomass and pro-solar?

What has caused the VDT to decide to look into the matter? Johnna Pinholser acknowledges that it was Growing oposition of proposed biomass energy plant:
A growing organization of concerned citizens are opposing the building of a biomass energy plant in Lowndes County.

Wiregrass Activists for Clean Energy hope to promote clean and sustainable energies while also educating the public on how a biomass plant could be detrimental to community health.

The goal of the organization and the opposition to the plant is not to inhibit economic development but to promote a conversation on sustainable energy, Dr. Michael Noll, WACE president, said.

The new organization is not the only one in the community speaking out against the biomass plant.

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Videos of pro and con biomass speakers at VBOE

Karen Noll took these videos at the 29 September 2010 meeting of the Valdosta Board of Education (VBOE). Much more about that meeting here.

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Dr. Gretchen Bielmyer speaking against the biomass plant.
Dr. Brad Bergstrom speaking against the biomass plant.
Brad Lofton and Allan Ricketts speaking for the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA) and the biomass plant.

Biomass Rezoning Minutes, County Commission, 9 June 2009

In the message from Prof. Manning, he says
I did address the county commission on this topic over a year ago – in a public forum at a scheduled meeting.
He provided no date nor link, but since this is the only Commission meeting minutes for which I can find his name, I’m guessing this is the one he meant. I’ve quoted here the relevant item, and I’ve added paragraph breaks to it to make finding individual speakers’ names easier. See also the VDT writeup. I would like to ask people, especially academics, who want to cite sources to actually cite them, not allude to them by some vague description.

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LOWNDES COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MINUTES
Regular Session
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
COMMISSIONERS PRESENT
Chairman Ashley Paulk
Vice Chairperson Joyce E. Evans
Commissioner Richard C. Lee
Commissioner G. Robert Carter
Chairman Paulk called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.

[…]

REZ-2009-05 Wiregrass Power, LLC, 2637 Old Statenville Hwy, 0164 025. 22.1 ac., E-A to I-S,

County Planner, Jason Davenport, presented the item, stating that both the Planning Commission and TRC recommended approval with conditions.

Chairman Paulk asked those in attendance to be patient with the Commission as the item was considered, since it was an issue that many in attendance may want to speak.

Dr. Michael Noll, 2305 Glynndale Drive, spoke against the request and presented the Commission with a list of questions prepared by himself, Dr. Brad Bergstrom and Mr. Seth Gunning.

Mr. Fred Deloach III, 1411 New Statenville Highway, addressed the Commission requesting that tires and coal be added to the list of prohibited fuel items.

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Thomas J. Manning Responds

Brad Lofton sent me this today.

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From: “Brad Lofton”
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2010 11:54:58 -0400

John:

Thank you for providing my correspondence on your blog. Here is an e-mail below from VSU professor Tom Manning who has experience in biomass research and instruction. He has supported our project enthusiastically from the beginning. I would appreciate you including this as well.

Regards,

BL

From: Thomas J Manning [mailto:tmanning@valdosta.edu]
Sent: Thursday, September 30, 2010 11:37 AM
To: ‘Bradley J Bergstrom’
Cc: ‘ReplyTo:’; ‘Cc: Allan Ricketts’
Subject: FW: Thank you to the Valdosta Board of Education

Dr. Bergstrom,

I believe you are playing a game of semantics with your disparaging argument concerning my qualifications (quote below). Some key points:

1. I did address the county commission on this topic over a year ago – in a public forum at a scheduled meeting.
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Joy Towles Ezell: Florida Sierra Club biomass policy

A Sierra Club reply to Brad Lofton, copied to the Valdosta Board of Education and others.

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From: Joy Towles Ezell
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2010 20:27:54 -0700 (PDT)

As the former Conservation Chair and the former Energy Chair of the Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club, and as the former Energy Chair of the Big Bend Group of the Florida Chapter, I must “set the record straight”. Today’s National Sierra Club policy is not as strong as the Florida Chapter’s policy was against burning biomass. I can speak only to Florida’s SC policy, so I submit to you the policies of the Florida Chapter and the Big Bend Group concerning the burning of biomass during my tenure, with our press release concerning the now defeated biomass plant in Tallahassee:

The < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Florida Chapter Policies were also published, in part, in The Pelican, Spring 2004, the official Florida Chapter newsletter.< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Here is the Chapter policy on ‘biomass.’

Florida Chapter Sierra Club policy opposes biomass production:

“We continue to oppose the development of biomass production as an
alternative to solar and wind power. Biomass production depletes the
environment by decreasing topsoil, using more water, fertilizer and
diesel fuel than it is worth and creates more pollution.”
Page 8. http://florida.sierraclub.org/Pelican/spring04.pdf


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Brad Bergstrom: “unnecessary and very sad”

A reply to Brad Lofton and Michael Noll, copied to the Valdosta Board of Education and others.

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Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2010 21:25:37 -0400

As Dr. Noll said, you do indeed have a reading comprehension problem, Mr. Lofton.  I most decidedly did not "discredit" my colleague; I said his opinion was just as valid as mine.  I discredited you, sir!  I replied to your, frankly, absurb misstatements with some documented facts, even the statistics made publicly available by the EPD.  And once again you respond with nothing but more unsubstantiated assertions.

As to your insinuations of my alleged "unilateral" opposition to some unnamed industry, I have no idea what you're talking about.  I think you are grasping at straws.  Your unsubstantiated assertions have now strayed into personal accusations and rumor mongering.  That’s completely unnecessary and very sad.

Brad Bergstrom

Michael Noll: “from the Sierra Club directly”

This message from Michael Noll was sent to the Valdosta Board of Education, among others. The interjections in square brackets [] where there when I received it.

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Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2010 20:41:26 -0400

Mr. Lofton.

Although your email seems to be addressed to Dr. Bergstrom, the nonsense in it warrants a short reply, before I will go home and enjoy an evening meal:

1) I am not sure how you did in terms of reading comprehension in school, but the fact is Dr. Bergstrom wrote:

"… even those groups that jumped on the biomass bandwagon early–like Sierra Club–are having serious second thoughts."
To further elaborate, let me share some comments I got from the Sierra Club directly in response to an email I sent to inquire about their position on biomass:
"The [Sierra] Club absolutely opposes all combustion of Municipal Waste, sorted or not [referring to the burning of sewage sludge in the proposed biomass incinerator] …. We believe that biomass projects can be sustainable, but that many biomass projects are not. We are not confident that massive new biomass energy resources are available without risking soil and forest health, given the lack of commitment by governments and industry to preservation, restoration, and conservation of natural resources …. Biomass incineration advocates [like yourself Mr. Lofton] have been misrepresenting the [Sierra] Club for a long time on this." (Ned Ford, Sierra Club, Chair of the Energy Technical Advisory Committee, August 18, 2010.
In other words, your project does NOT have the (automatic) support

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Brad Lofton: “simply walk down the hall”

This message from Brad Lofton was sent to Dr. Brad Bergstrom and the Valdosta Board of Education and some other people.

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Dr. Bergstrom-

As opposed to spending hours online and pouring through publication databases, I would respectfully recommend that you simply walk down the hall to actually discuss Dr. Tom Manning’s experience with Dr. Tom Manning. He’s in the same building with you I assume. No doubt on the same campus. Seems odd that you would publicly discredit a colleague here prior to even talking with him. Dr. Manning’s credentials certainly do not need your validation.

Thank you for finally acknowledging the Sierra Club and all of the other environmental support we have. You are the first to acknowledge it publicly. Our support goes well beyond the Sierra Club, and we provided the Board of Ed with dozens of nationally known environmental leaders who support our project.

If you would be so kind, please meet with us again, and we will provide you actual numbers

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