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LetterToTheEditor — Citizens concerned over Loudon air quality




Dear Editor:



(Below is a copy of an open letter to Betsy Child, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.)

On behalf of Clean Air Friends-Clean Air Kids Inc., I am responding to your correspondence of Feb. 2, 2004.

It is our understanding that once one or more citizens petition the Air Pollution Control Board and make specific requests for their consideration that the Air Pollution Control Board will initiate a formal review process.

Your letter did not address this subject. Please advise us of the status of the Board’s review per our petition request of Jan. 19, 2004.

More than 2,500 signatures of concerned citizens and over 250 names of children are on the petitions. The Loudon County Air Quality Task Force has not addressed their views of air quality with regard to concerns of public health, damage to property and general quality of life.

You have indicated the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will rely on the Loudon County Air Quality Task Force. We are of the opinion the air quality task force has not properly investigated and addressed the concerns of the community.

A good example of how the Loudon County Air Quality Task Force has ignored community concerns is the manner in which their meeting of Feb. 18, 2004, was conducted.

At two previous meetings, citizens requested that the county air quality task force oppose adding more emissions from the Tate & Lyle Dupont expansion, since Loudon County already has a problem with excessive air pollution. The citizens requested a hold on the permit until the county air quality task force had sufficient data to analyze the impact of additional emissions.

The Loudon County Air Quality Task Force voted that the amount of industrial emissions for the possible Tate & Lyle/DuPont project would produce an “insignificant” impact to air quality and that they would make no recommendations on the joint venture permit application and would defer to TDEC.

The vote was not based on any reliable, objective data with only the verbal assurance from the Tate & Lyle manager that additional emissions from the DuPont project would be allowable. To add insult to injury, Chairman Russ Ellis changed the rules and did not permit public participation, ignoring his commitment to allow public comment at the end of the meeting.

Since the Loudon County Air Quality Task Force selection process was created under the guidelines of the Loudon County Economic Development Agency, Clean Air Friends realizes that most members have a bias toward industry. Therefore, we think it only fair that you hear the citizens before making your decision.



Sincerely,

Pat Hunter

Clean Air Friends -

Clean Air Kids, Inc.

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