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LETTERS / Why Let Tennessee Company Pollute Watauga To Build Road in Ashe?

Dear Editor,

Coming soon, to the “scenic” Doc and Merle Watson Highway approaching Boone, Maymead Corporation from Tennessee plans to construct another new ASPHALT PLANT.   The reasons this location is totally inappropriate are many and include not only the fact that travel and tourism is the largest industry here (in 2007, 191.5 million in expenditures and 43.56 million for 2,580 jobholders), but serious health  issues as well.

Within a two mile radius of the proposed plant are two elementary schools, a 4 mile section of the Blue Ridge Parkway including the Grand View Overlook, Boone’s Trace, and a portion of the Mountain to the Sea Trail,  7 miles of the South Fork of the New River and 10.5 miles of streams, 8 churches, the new Rocky Knob Bike and Hiking Park,  Organic Farms and a large number of private homes.

Asphalt plants release tons of toxic chemicals into the air each year, many of which are known carcinogens such as benzene, formaldehyde, hydrogen sulfide, mercury and cadmium.  Adverse health effects are proven to increase with long term exposure.  Citizens with asthma and other respiratory ailments will suffer most.  Air quality will degrade significantly, as will the water quality of our rivers, creeks and streams.

I urge everyone to contact your county commissioners, spread the word, since many people have yet to hear about this plant, attend and speak at a commission meeting and look out for a public hearing.  A citizens group in opposition to the plant has been formed, is called HCWATCH (High Country Wataugans Against Toxins Close to Home), and you may reach us at our website: http://highcountrywatch.wix.com/high-country-watch or through email athighcountrywatch@gmail.com.

Why would we let a Tennessee company build a polluting industry here in order to pave a road in the next county?


David Sengel