Coal ash is NOT new technology

Published 9:45 am Thursday, April 20, 2017

To the Editor:

Fear is defined as unpleasant, often strong emotions caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. Awareness: knowing that something (a situation, condition, or problem) exists (, 2017).

In response to Clarence Wood Beasley IV’s letter to the editor, New Technology Met with Fear, we, the citizens in Northampton County opposed to the proposed VistaGreen High Bridge Park COAL ASH DUMP, take offense in his implication that we are uneducated inciters of fear.

The letter, most likely written by a paid advertising firm, seeks to portray us as citizens against growth for our county. To quote Mr. Beasley, “If we reject projects such as VistaGreen then the coal ash will remain in the unlined and leaking basins to further contaminate human and environmental health while the utility skates by without having to dig up the mess they left us with”.

His implication that we will be responsible for past contamination and lives ruined by leaking, failed dumps is the utmost insult to his fellow brethren. Also implied is that we will be responsible for utility companies causing such atrocities not being held accountable. Shame on you Mr. Beasley for such a statement.

We do not “denounce technology”. We want all citizens of Northampton County to flourish in healthy, safe environments, clean industry and jobs provided by organizations having our citizen’s best interest in mind. Industries locating in our county not because they couldn’t find a spot in their own county to provide the self-monetary benefits that VistaGreen will provide private company owners.

Mr. Beasley asked, “Why reject it now?” Let’s look at that. According to Physicians for Social Responsibility (www/, “Coal ash contains arsenic, mercury, lead, and over a dozen other heavy metals, most are toxic.” How might your liners prevent this physiological process? Also, PSR states, “toxic constituents of coal ash are blowing, spilling and leaching from storage units into air, land and human drinking water, posing acute risk of cancer, neurological effects and many other negative health impacts: heart, lung and kidney disease, reproductive problems, gastrointestinal illness, birth defects, and impaired bone growth in children.” Would you want to live near this, or want your children/grandchildren to grow up living in this environment?

70% of coal ash dumps, or Mr. Beasley’s term – combustion residual storage and recycling areas, are located in low income communities. Northampton County ranked 96/100 on the list of NC’s median household income based on ACS 2010-2014 data (–median-household-income-county-rank.htm). This puts the bull’s eye on the back of Northampton County.

Public Health focuses on safeguarding and improving the physical, mental, and social well-being of the community as a whole. It is … What we as a society do collectively to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy, (Institute of Medicine, 1988).

This, Mr. Beasley, is why we reject coal ash dumped in OUR county. We don’t need VistaGreen dumping used, toxic waste into our land, waste arriving from other countries such as China, and Poland. We need VistaGreen to build schools, community health centers, and to contribute monetarily to the health and well-being of our citizens. If your interest truly is to improve our county, in which you do not reside, promote health, and provide jobs that are not posing health risks.

Please, Mr. Beasley, in your future efforts to sell the public on your personal venture in our county, stop implying that we are “running for fear of the plague”. We are educated people concerned for all citizens and our children’s future. We elect officials to represent these endearments and accept industry into our county that will provide ALL citizens the opportunity to live in a healthy environment and flourish in life as our Heavenly Father intends.

Sheryl Watson, BSN RN