A large crowd of Liberty and Bryan residents attended an EPD meeting Tuesday on a controversial sewage treatment plant that would discharge into the saltwater marsh.
Whistles, cheers and shouts against permitting the plant rippled through the crowd of a couple hundred at the Midway Civic Center during the public hearing, in a sort of grassroots resistance.
Opponents and supporters of the plant say the other side of being uninformed about the plant’s effects on ecology and marine business.
Roy Hubbard from Richmond Hill thought consultation from “acceptable scientific data,” using qualified sources still has not been provided.
“There is scientific analysis by qualified persons that strongly suggest that there is a very real danger of causing irreversible damage,” Hubbard said, referencing a study by Dr. Jack Blanton, of the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.
But Clarence Kessler thought the outspoken opponents should “think before you act,” calling them “just a pawn,” on “the whole Monopoly board.”
“All of you are good people and you mean well, but you may be a tool,” Kessler said of the $30 million project. “You may be a tool for the means for the Development Authority to lose everything they put in it.”
The plant’s discharge into the Laurel View River should not alarm residents, according to representatives from the Environmental Protection Division and Liberty County Development Authority.
Three million gallons of discharge is the absolute limit, the EPD’s Curtis Boswell stressed to a group huddled around an engineering display.
But the possibility of expansion was stressed by opponents.
“They [LCDA] doesn’t have an application to go any further than that [3 million gallons],” Boswell said. “And by the looks of tonight, that would be something that would be quite a request.”
While the officials pushed their agenda, the public wanted experts to null any promises and admit there really is no certainty in the outcome.
Ross Blair from the Bryan County News and Alena Parker from the Coastal Courier contributed to this article. Read more in Blair’s reporter’s blog, on coastalcourier.com and Saturday in the Bryan County News and bryancountynews.net.