03/08/09 — Barber among speakers at anti-Fibrowatt rally

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Barber among speakers at anti-Fibrowatt rally

By Staff Reports
Published in News on March 8, 2009 9:57 AM

CLINTON -- The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber of Goldsboro, state president of the NAACP, will be among the speakers Saturday, March 21, at a rally in opposition to construction of litter-fired power plant in Sampson County.

The rally will get under way at noon at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, 4442 Bonnetsville Road.

Other speakers will include Jeanette Stingone, a doctoral candidate, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and La-Tasha Best-Gaddy, director of education and training for the N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development.

Rally organizers said the purpose of the rally is "to inform citizens of all the facts on Fibrowatt."

A Pennsylvania company plans to build the $200 million facility in Sampson County at the Interstate 40 and N.C. 403 interchange about three miles west of Faison.

The plant would burn poultry litter to generate electricity and is expected to open in 2012.

It is expected to be about an $150 million investment that will provide about 100 new jobs. Sampson County offered tax incentives to help land the project.

Opponents, who have organized as Sampson County Concerned Citizens, have raised the alarm that the plant would be built in a historically black and poor community. They have filed a complaint with the state NAACP.

The Sampson County NAACP chapter is on record in opposition to the plant.

Other concerns include a dramatic increase in heavy-truck traffic, health and pollution.

The opponents argue that four or more multi-million dollar produce and food-distributing companies are located within a three-mile radius of the site. Also within the radius are numerous farms, many of which are organic.

Meanwhile, company officials said there is no odor or noise associated with the plant and expressed surprise at the opposition.

The organized opposition isn't the only group that has presented problems for Fibrowatt.

Sampson County and the company failed to convince the town of Faison to surrender control of the town's zoning authority at the proposed plant site. Although located in Sampson County, the site is part of Faison's extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ).

Negotiations between the town and Fibrowatt were ongoing for months.

Company officials have said they are looking at relocating the plant on the portion of the property that does not fall under the Faison ETJ.