08/22/07 — Lois Gibbs decries Duplin county landfill efforts

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Lois Gibbs decries Duplin county landfill efforts

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 22, 2007 1:45 PM

KENANSVILLE -- More than 200 Duplin County residents concerned about the possibility of building a landfill in northern Duplin County listened last Thursday night as a nationally known environmentalist described how the Love Canal disaster in New York 30 years ago affected her family and community.

Lois Gibbs spoke at James Sprunt Community College as part of an eight-county tour with members of the national Center for Health, Environment and Justice, of which she is the executive director. Also sponsoring the meeting last week in Kenansville was a local environmental group, Citizens for a Safe Environment. Many of those in attendance helped form the group to oppose the construction of a landfill near Calypso.

Ms. Gibbs urged attendees to continue their fight against the landfill.

Nothing was done to protect the families near Love Canal from the pollution coming from the chemicals buried in the dump, she said. When her children developed health problems, she founded a group that surveyed residents and discovered a high rate of birth defects among children in the area. The group convinced politicians of the need to do something and the result was the Superfund -- a federal program that pays relocation expenses for families being moved out of badly polluted places.

Frances Parks, one of the co-chairmen of Citizens for a Safe Environment, said that Waste Industries, the company that wanted to build the landfill, has enlarged its original plans for the proposed site.

Duplin County currently has no landfill and ships its waste to Sampson County for disposal. Duplin officials have said the county needs to build a landfill somewhere in the county to handle its solid waste.