Thursday, March 26, 2009

NAACP Opposes Chicken Litter-Burning Power Plant in NC

The North Carolina NAACP opposes a proposed power plant planned to be located in Sampson County that will be fueled by chicken droppings. The NAACP is holding a rally against the plant on Saturday in Clinton, NC. About a year ago, New Hampshire-based Fibrowatt announced it's building three power plants in North Carolina. The first is to be located in the city of Faison in Sampson County near the intersection of Interstate 40 and N.C. Highway 403. Faison is 33% Black and 26% Hispanic. Median household income is $29,000. Sampson County is 30% black. (CLR Search)

AAEA opposes this proposed plant at this location.

The NAACP charges that burning chicken droppings will release toxins into the air including arsenic. The facility would be located near a predominately poor and African-American community, which represents a clear environmental injustice issue. The health and well-being of area residents would clearly be adversely and disproportionately affected by the anticipated pollution. Rev. Dr. William Barber is charging that arsenic will be emitted from the facility. Arsenic is a toxic pollutant linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver, and prostate. Rev. Dr. William Barber is President of the NC State Conference of the NAACP, and has submitted a letter opposing the Fibrowatt facility to the Sampson County Board of Commissioners. Barber says building the plantswould expose poor people, particularly African Americans, to unacceptable pollution levels.

Fibrowatt's concept is to burn chicken droppings from North Carolina's large poultry industry to produce electricity. The company calls it "renewable energy from locally abundant agricultural byproducts," and touts the benefits to the environment. It says burning chicken waste cuts down on the dumping of fertilizer laden waste into the environment which can degrade local water sources, release greenhouse gases, and create offensive odors. But burning the litter would create carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, too. Fibrowatt and some local politicians believe the new plant would bring much needed jobs and tax revenue to the county while providing a valuable service to poultry farmers in the area. Sampson County Commissioners voted to rezone Exit 355 as an industrial park to accomodate the Fibrowatt facility. (WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durhan, NC ABC News Channel 11,Goldsboro News Argus, Energy Justice Network, Winston-Salem Journal)

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