Guest Column: Asphalt plant — a ‘big toxic carcinogenic’ problem

By Billie Diane Mills
Adjacent property owner to proposed asphalt plant

I can’t believe that people in this community, i.e., Norma Lewis — Rockford, believe that the proposed asphalt plant by William Charles, Inc. is no problem. The location they have chosen is a very high-traffic area (between 17,000 and 18,000 drivers per day)surrounded by large newer homes, NOT corn fields, and zoned in the CITY of Rockford with Rockford taxes ($7,000 to over $11,000). This area is also home to Northern Illinois University and The Mildred Berry Center. The residents of this area, in the City of Rockford, will be right on top of this asphalt plant, a mere 300 feet away from their homes. This is a very big problem!

Scientific evidence from OSHA and EPA has proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that asphalt plants do, IN FACT, pollute the air with many toxic materials, i.e., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde, cadmium, sulfur dioxide, to name a few. There is also proof that drinking water from our rivers is polluted with arsenic and hexavalent chromium, and this pollution will destroy all life in our rivers. Our water supply will be cut off and cause the ruin of Rockford. Is this what we want?

Sure, William Charles, Inc. has been around for a number of years, but they are NOT the good neighbor they pretend to be! In addition, my husband’s ancestors (Mowry Brown, home at Midway Village) founded this town in 1836. We have contributed well to this community for more than 175 years, and we want this community to be here for our descendants.

John Groh (president and CEO of the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau) wrote an article on Oct. 6, 2011, in the Register Star newspaper that Rockford Region needs to be cleaner and greener. A poisonous, toxic asphalt plant at the main entrance to Rockford, Bus. 20 (where they come from east, north and south) is NOT how to get Rockford cleaner and greener. The stigma of this stinky asphalt plant will destroy Rockford, and in the end, no one will want to move here or even visit, for that matter. Kiss growth goodbye!

With our economy in a deep decline and at an all-time low, if William Charles really cared about Rockford, they would add hundreds of NEW jobs to their businesses(46) and help with Rockford’s LOW unemployment. This asphalt plant is NOT adding any new jobs, nor is it adding growth to our economy. It is a simple, matter of putting monies in the good ol’ boys’ pockets and getting what they want like the thugs and ruffians that they are! GREED, GREED, GREED, shame on all of you! I can’t believe that you are so easily persuaded by these infamous low lives and are putting our great city in such jeopardy. YES, it’s time for a changing of the guard!

From the Oct. 19-25, 2011, issue

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