November 2, 2016

Does Republic’s toxic coal-ash dumping make you want to cuss?

     How long has it been since we discovered Central Virginia Properties, LLC’s stealth ruse to slip a mile-long rail spur into Broadhurst’s piney woods and wetlands?  You have to go back to January.  That’s when Neill Herring spotted Republic Services’ subsidiary’s application to the United States Army Corps of Engineers and alerted reporter Derby Waters of The Press-Sentinel.
     Without Neill’s eagle-eyed observation, very few of us would have known what was about to happen.  Without Neill’s alert, rail-spur construction would most likely be underway.
     Republic officials will tell you that they have been talking about the rail spur with the county commissioners for a dozen years.  There’s a 2004 letter floating around that shows the county’s support for the rail line, but did it talk about hauling in millions of tons of toxic coal ash?
     And then about this time last year, Republic officials hinted to some county commissioners that the company was going to dump coal ash in Broadhurst.  Were those conversations in a public meeting?
     Did any of those county commissioners really know what toxic coal ash is or what the implications of 100 railcars per day of toxic coal ash would be to the environment?
     I doubt it, so, no.
     Why did Republic choose to use an unfamiliar name on the rail-spur application?
     My guess is that was to keep us in the dark.
     Is that how a good corporate neighbor should treat the community?
     Did Republic expect this much public uproar over the trampling of a sensitive ecosystem and monstrous toxic dumping atop the Floridan Aquifer and so near our wetlands and streams?
     If Central Virginia Properties, LLC should get its rail-spur application approved by the Corps, does Wayne County want to become the municipal garbage dump for America’s Eastern Seaboard?
     Just because the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) board approved the Environmental Protection Division’s (EPD) new coal-ash dumping rules, should we stop our efforts to get even more stringent regulations?
     Should Wayne County ever give up our fight to protect the health of our community’s residents—current and future—and its natural resources?
     After all these months, I have more energy and reasons to stand up against Republic’s greedy and irresponsible toxic coal-ash proposal.  And to keep my spirits up, even in this David-and-Goliath battle, I rely on humor.
     Is there anything funny about our dangerous plight?
     But a good laugh helps ease the tension.  I heard this story the other day.  A preacher spotted a lad pushing a lawnmower down the sidewalk.
     “Young man,” the preacher asked, “will you sell me your lawn mower?”  
     “Yes, sir.”
     “How much?”
     “Ten dollars.”
     A week later, the preacher saw the kid walking along licking an ice cream cone.  The man of the cloth pulled his car over to the curb and got out.
     “Young man, that lawn mower you sold me won’t crank!”
     “You have to cuss it when you pull the cord,” the boy said.
     “Young man, I’ll have you to know I don’t cuss!”
     “Yes, sir, but if you try to crank that lawn mower, you will.”