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Guest Editorial: County should go slower with wood-treatment project

By: Mike Dorian, environmental activist

Gadsden stands on the headwaters of one of the last clean aquifers in the world. Gadsden County residents and officials are the custodians and guardians of this vast underground pure water lake. But both state and federal protection is lacking. As the aquifer flows south, industrialization and urbanization pollute the water.

We are incredibly lucky our water is so clean. Is the new wood-pressure treatment plant next to Havana a good, safe project? No independent scientific review has been done. And there’s no straight answer about whether one will be done.

The Department of Environmental Protection says no review will happen because the treatment plant is not in a wetland. County officials say the department will do an analysis when the conceptual plans are delivered.

This is after the county commissioners are set to vote on the project on April 3. Many questions about this project, however, should be asked by third-party, independent qualified professionals.

Scientific review that we used to have is now reduced, if not completely gone.

The Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Protection Agency need to step up and do their jobs before county commissioners vote on this project.

The Gadsden County Development Council and the treatment plant officials have already met individually with county commissioners. While this is legal and perhaps totally innocent, the appearance of these meetings produces suspicion.

A proper review by the Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Protection Agency would eliminate concern.

In the rush to obtain much-needed jobs, neighborhoods and the aquifer should be included in the math.

Are 15 to 25 jobs really a good deal when hundreds of jobs are needed? Fifteen to 25 jobs is really a small number of jobs when you think about possibly endangering neighborhoods or harming our natural resources.

The solar farm project was a unique, out-of-the-box idea that would have supplied millions of dollars for jobs and services in Gadsden and surrounding counties.

Low pollution, protection of the environment — good stuff.

I understand they went to another county because Gadsden wouldn’t cut a good deal.

We shouldn’t tax solar at all. Solar is the future. To get a solar farm in the county would create many clean jobs.

The county should have staff working full-time on bringing a large solar farm to the county.

County officials should go slow on the new wood-pressure treatment plant.

In no way, shape or form is the industrialization of Gadsden County thinking out of the box.

Federal, state and county officials owe the citizens of Gadsden County a more intensive review of this wood-pressure treatment plant project.

Mike Dorian is a member of Gadsden United, a 20-year-old incorporated group dedicated to protecting Gadsden County citizens and the environment. Contact Gadsden United at Box 521, Quincy, FL 32353-0521.