Polluters’ playbook

Published 11:47 am Tuesday, June 20, 2017

To the Editor:

There must surely be a manual out there on how to site a polluting facility in a community because the polluters all follow the same methods.

Vista Green, the two folks who want to site a huge, coal ash landfill on 800 acres in Northampton, surely has a copy. But the folks in Northampton County don’t need a copy because we have it memorized.

They find a site in a poor county, usually in a minority community. They buy the land or have an option to buy. They hold a public meeting with the company owners, their engineers and PR people there to convince the community that their polluting business will be great because they will bring jobs, an increased tax base and payments to the county. They always speak of the benefits to the school system knowing that is important to the residents.

When they hold these public meetings they are gauging the knowledge of the people in the community and what they need to do to sway people. They very often seek to meet secretly with commissioners, other county officials, leaders of any opposition groups and citizens to try to convince them that the jobs, tax increase and payments will be good for the community and their facility will be “state of the art” and will do no harm to their land and health. No convincing of the community is necessary if you have a good industry.

Folks, these people do not have your best interest at heart.

If a company is a good company, every county and every surrounding state will try to recruit this industry to their area. They will compete by offering incentive packages such as tax breaks, infrastructure and buildings to try to win the company. There is much competition.

If a company like Vista Green (actually just two men) offers to pay a locality to come, this is A LARGE, WAVING, RED FLAG.

No good company has to withdraw its proposal and spend months trying to convince the community to support its facility. It means that no other state or locality is recruiting the coal ash landfill. Smart public officials know that once you allow one of these polluting facilities to come to your community, you not only become a target for other such facilities, but no good industry will bring their families to live in a polluted community.

People who were involved in our fight against Thermalkem, the multinational corporation trying to site a hazardous waste incinerator in Northampton County, will recognize the playbook being used by Vista Green. We were not fooled then and we won’t be fooled now.

Join the opposition! For information call 252-589-1191.

Jean Colston