Protestors wearing respirator masks held signs reading “Biomass? No!” in front of the Valdosta City Hall building on Thursday. Members of the Wiregrass Activists for Clean Energy, the VSU student organization Students Against Violating the Environment, and other concerned Valdosta citizens showed up to protest the construction of the Wiregrass Power: Biomass Electric Generating Plant.
“We already have solar power resources in place that we could be using and I feel like money should be directed towards that,” Ivey Roubique, vice-president of the Student Geological Society, said. “It wouldn’t be good for the community and even though I’m in college here it still matters.”
S.A.V.E. president Erin Hurley spoke to the council members during the City Council meeting.
“As a student I feel I have the right to breathe clean air at the college I attend, with this Biomass plant possibly being built here the future for generations to come is at jeopardy and we want to protect our fellow and future students’ health,” Hurley said.
Assistant professor of sociology Dr. Mark Patrick George also addressed the City Council.
“I’m just utterly confused given the public outcry about this across the political spectrum, from conservative to liberal, why we’re still talking about it and why we haven’t decided as a community and you as a body that it’s a bad idea,” George said.
On the Wiregrass Power, LLC website questions and answers page, the sixth question asks if the regulated levels of emissions from the biomass plant are considered hazardous to citizens who live in the Valdosta City and Lowndes county areas to which the answer says no.
“Wiregrass Biomass LLC is just a tad bit below the maximum emissions of chemical compounds such as NOx, SO2, CO, etc., to avoid a major air permit and thereby stricter control technology…also particulate matter PM 2.5 and smaller are known to lead to increases in cancer, respiratory illnesses, mortality, heart disease,” Dr. Michael Noll, president of the Wiregrass Activists for Clean Energy, said.