Thank you to Sarah Gilliam and StarNews Online for this piece:
Doctors are busy people so when they take the time to speak out, we should pay attention. For over four years, citizens and groups have fought the permitting of a coal-burning cement plant and limestone mine proposed for the banks of the Northeast Cape Fear River. During this fight, hundreds of physicians and nurses have joined the opposition because of the known health effects from this industry. Most recently, a local physician named Dr. Robert Parr submitted a powerful letter to our local newspaper, encouraging readers to get out and vote for leaders who value clean air and healthy children. Here is what Dr. Parr had to say:
The future growth and prosperity of New Hanover County depends on maintaining a healthy environment. Clean air and abundant ground water are more important to our economy and quality of life than 50 new jobs at a foreign owned cement plant.
Four years ago our County Commission, county staff, Wilmington Industrial Development and cement plant officials worked for months in secret then held a public hearing on short notice. The meeting format denied citizens critical information on cement plant emissions, impacts on ground water and past environmental performance.
Since that time it has become clear that cement plant emissions are injurious to public health and that cement plants deplete and pollute public water supplies. We also know that the cement industry is working hard to block EPA cement plant emission standards – regulations that will save thousands of lives across the nation.
In Florida citizens have already lost their right to oversee cement plant mining impacts on their community. In North Carolina we have seen a similar attempt to outlaw citizen input on local zoning issues. We have seen local citizens sued for speaking out on matters of public health – matters which are overwhelmingly supported in current medical research.
Four years ago citizens were denied their right to vote on these matters. Time to speak up now and vote.
Dr. Parr has been a long-time advocate for clean air. He is an active member of the statewide Medical Advocates for Healthy Air as well as the New Hanover-Pender County Medical Society. His knowledge and compassion for health is invaluable to the national, statewide and local effort to protect clean air regulations.
Photo: Clean Air Carolina