Residents protest chemical plant
ATMORE (AP) — Homeowners in a rural community near Atmore have protested plans for an aluminum sulfate plant expected to be built by a Georgia firm in their neighborhood.
Mack Salter and dozens of his neighbors discovered the Atlanta-based C&S Chemical Inc. purchased 20 acres along the Alabama Gulf Coast Railroad north of Atmore for a manufacturing plant.
Salter said more than 100 households are within a mile of the site. Two churches are within a few hundred yards. But, being unincorporated, the Freemanville community has no authority to regulate property use.
Keiana Quarker-White, a teacher, said she and her husband just built a new home within a few hundred yards of the site. She is angry, she said.
“We have done our research,” Quarker-White said. “These undesirable industrial plants target rural communities, and places where minorities and low-income residents are the predominant demographic. We fit all that, and this is not justice.”
Aluminum sulfate is a compound used in industrial wastewater treatment, the pulp and paper industry, in fabric dyeing, as a soil amendment, as an ingredient in deodorants and some times as a pesticide for slugs.
Chemical directories list the compound as a hazardous material that is harmful if swallowed or inhaled. It can irritate skin and eyes and can corrode metals.
Residents said the plant will bring noisy traffic to the quiet streets, but most expressed concerns about trace chemical releases or accidental spills.
Some area homes, residents said, are priced between $150,000 and $300,000, but many are more modest.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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