Gadsden residents voice concerns over animal rendering plant plans

Local News

Gadsden, Ala. (WIAT) — Hundreds of people gathered at Southside High School in Gadsden Monday night voicing their opposition to a potential animal rendering plant coming to the area.

Many residents believe city leaders were not transparent on the issue.

During Monday’s meeting, Etowah County Commissioner Tim Ramsey stated he didn’t support the plants proposed location, but believes the plant could benefit the county’s economy.

Ramsey’s comments drew a lot of feedback during the meeting.

“Yes, Poultry industry is big in Alabama, but they don’t own Alabama and they don’t own the people of Alabama,” one concerned citizen said.

Christie Knowles with Knowles & Sullivan, LLC, has helped with a lot of efforts against the plans.

Knowles tells CBS 42 she understands the many reasons some residents are upset about the whole issue.

“An environmentally problematic plant that could affect the quality of the water and the air of a community, you notify people,” Knowles said.

Justin Overton with Coosa RiverKeeper spoke at the meeting and addressed the environmental concerns on the facility.

She is concerned when it comes to waste and other disposal of chemicals from the plant and believe ADEM won’t uphold the regulations.

“They(ADEM) have no interest in enforcing those permits to be preventative of any health issues for the wildlife or your health issues as an individual,” Overton said.

Based on her and the organizations research of Pilgrims Pride, the company building the plant, they have a record of not following environmental guidelines.

“Facilities will go out of compliance for months, days, years at a time. And Pilgrims Pride has shown in other states that they are not good compliance holders to their permits,” Overton said.

State Sen. Andrew Jones announced at the meeting he has created a PAC against the proposed facility.

“That is we continue to work together and we speak with a unified voice, that we can stop this rendering plant,” Jones said.

Representatives are set to speak to the Gadsden City Council Tuesday morning.

Stay with CBS 42 for updates on this story.


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