Letter to the Editor

Published 9:42 am Wednesday, September 12, 2007

By Staff
Plant opposition is overreacting
Several recent issues of The Atmore Advance headlined resistance to attempted 'advances' in our area. Sometimes resistance is needed but the question is, are we a community friendly to new development or do we make it needlessly difficult?
Recently a friend who lives outside of Atmore asked me, 'How far do you live from that chemical plant?' Could it be that we are overreacting to the word 'chemical?'
Since the manufactured product is used to purify drinking water, would it be less scary if the company had called itself 'C &S Water Purifiers?' If toxicity is the fear, we need only to look in our houses for all sorts of toxins. Bleach, insect sprays, cleaners, drain cleaners and many medicines are toxic if directions for use are not followed. Just one example, the same 'toxin' that kills rats and mice saves many lives by dissolving blood clots. Like many chemicals, sulfuric acid is harmful if taken internally or after prolonged contact with skin….neither is ever likely to happen, even to workers at the plant. The potential for a toxic spill from a train derailment or truck accident is no small danger that we live with every day. We also have at least four farm chemical warehouses with many tons of chemicals stored near us at all times.
One of the things that I have been taught is that when you are angry, be angry at the right person. I believe that Alabama seriously needs more zoning laws. We need agricultural zones because much good farmland is being lost to development. Maybe our anger should be directed at elected officials who fail to plan development with careful zoning laws. C &S was entirely within the law. Had this area been zoned residential and enforced as such, we would not have this conflict today. The solution may not be that simple, but we must start somewhere. As a farmer, I realize that urban development is not my 'field' of expertise, but I would appeal to the people of Atmore to avoid name calling and other inflammatory rhetoric when expressing our views in public. IF things happen to go against our wishes, after we have done our best to make a change….let's be mature enough to accept what we cannot change and be a good neighbor anyway.
Jim Weber

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