In response to the June 28 article about the Frederick County Board of Zoning Appeals’ denial of the asphalt plant permit in Buckeystown, I was one of the Buckeystown residents who spoke that night.
While it was a great relief to have the board turn down this permit, I’d like to address something that disturbed me that evening. It is not my intent to offend any of the people who spoke against the permit that night, yet it saddened me how many people were recommending that the asphalt plant go somewhere else in the county — just “not in my backyard.”
This mindset saddened me since NO one deserves or needs the environmental contamination from an asphalt plant in their neighborhood, regardless of where they live. Not in Frederick County, not downtown Baltimore, not anywhere. No one deserves or needs the toxic contamination from an oil refinery, chemical processing plant, agro-chemical fertilizer plant, etc. — either up close or downstream. And we ALL live downstream.
At the Board of Appeals meeting on June 27, the company proposing the plant kept deferring to the Maryland Department of the Environment as the go-to for various answers on contaminants and monitoring. Yet time has shown again and again that these regulatory agencies often lack the human resources to do proper monitoring and don’t monitor for ALL the chemical effluent or atmospheric contaminants, if they have policies to monitor them at all. They especially don’t monitor for the synergistic chemical “soup” of new toxins that form when various toxic molecules inevitably mix out in the waste stream, i.e., the air we breathe and our drinking water (or fish or seafood we consume from the “downstream”). This is a closed system, and the contaminants don’t just “go away.” There is no “away.”
For us to have a livable Frederick, we must start “looking upstream” for solutions that phase out the toxins for our road surfacing, transportation, packaging, growing food, etc., to the point that our human systems are HEALING our ecosystems. We need to cease toxifying our local ecosystems and ourselves.