April 21, 2016
Mr. Michael Larson
Cascade Investments, LLC
2365 Carillion Point
Kirkland, Washington 98033
Dear Mr. Larson:
The people of my hometown—Wayne County, Georgia—need your help. We aren’t seeking money. We are requesting something much more important. We want your assistance in protecting our health and environment in Southeast Georgia. As a director of Republic Services, you can stop the company’s plan to dump trainloads of toxic coal ash into our fragile ecosystem.
Currently, Central Virginia Properties, LLC has an application before the Corps of Engineers seeking to trample 25 acres of wetlands at Republic’s Broadhurst Environmental Landfill. If the Corps approves the massive rail-spur permit request, the floodgate will be opened to a proposed 10,000 tons of toxic coal ash—per day—to be dumped in Wayne County. We could become a national experiment to see just how much pollution can be piled in one place. Enclosed is information that will explain how catastrophic this risk will be.
As I explained to Republic’s Russ Knocke at the Jesup public meeting on March 16th, the Harvard Business School couldn’t find a better example for a case study on how to mangle a corporate strategy. Republic has lost its goodwill in our community, and our citizens have lost all trust in the company. Your company has assured us the toxic-coal-ash liners won’t leak. Sorry, we have no faith in that claim.
We are constantly reminded: “Republic is a $9 billion corporation. The world’s richest man, Bill Gates, is its largest stockholder.” We are a tiny community, but we find inspiration in the success of David versus Goliath. We weren’t looking for a fight, but Republic gives us no choice. Public outcry is ramping up across America. The national news media are taking a keen interest in our story. Reporters know that if this environmental nightmare can happen in Wayne County, it can happen in Anywhere, USA. I encourage you to read Janisse Ray’s essay, for example, on BitterSoutherner.com.
Also enclosed is a letter that I wrote to Mr. Gates. I hope that, as his chief investment officer, you will encourage him to hear our plea: “Please, don’t contaminate our lives—forever—with toxic coal ash.” Time is of the essence. I urge you to let our voices be heard at the board table of Republic Services.