Community holds meeting to discuss plant waste and pollution - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Community holds meeting to discuss plant waste and pollution

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CROSSETT, Ark. (KNOE 8 News) - Some people are concerned about the potential environmental and health hazards caused by the Georgia Pacific Plant in Crossett.  To address those concerns, multiple government agencies held a public meeting. We spoke to people from Crossett who don't doubt that the plant is in compliance. They say it's the environmental regulations they're leery of and now, they're looking to law-makers for help.

"I believe they are focusing on the income, the money they are making that company and they are not focusing on the damage that they are inflicting on the citizens of this community,” Rev. David Bouie said.  

But representatives from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality say the law is on the community's side and Georgia-Pacific continually meets the environmental regulations.

"We believe the permits that have been issued are protective of human health and the environment," ADEQ Representative Ryan Benefield said.

Georgia-Pacific in Crossett produces paper products. Emissions are released into the air and waste water is disposed of in the Ouachita River. Teresa Walsh with Georgia Pacific says the waste water is treated before it's dumped. She tells us their operations have little impact on the environment and pose no health dangers.

"There is no factual evidence that anything from our operations has created a health hazard for individuals,” Walsh said.

In November the Arkansas Department of Health will start testing the air at the plant. The tests will take about 6-months. But Bouie doesn't see the point since others have already tested the air quality.

"We've has scientist and chemist to come here in Crossett and test the air and test the water, to find this is bad," Bouie said.  

The Arkansas Department of Health says they haven't found any significant health problems with Ashley county residents, except strokes. And they say behavior, not toxins, are to blame for that. 
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