Say “No” to Housing at 828 MLK Blvd

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

In the 1960s and 1970s, 1000 homes were built on a toxic waste dump created by Hooker Chemical Company, which had been “capped” and was sold to the public school system to avoid any liability. 1000 homes were built on this toxic waste dump because the people trusted their government. Then, residents developed birth defects, epilepsy, asthma, and nephrosis. By 1979, the state finally had to relocate the families, costing the taxpayers $60 million in today’s dollars.

The parallel with the 828 MLK housing project is eerily similar. UNC creates the coal ash pit, deeds it to the Town, apparently to avoid liability. The Town will “cap” the coal ash. The Brownfields Agreement with DEQ avoids town liability, passing the risks on to the residents. The residents of the 225 homes will likely trust the government. Their children will play along Bolin Creek’s bank where there is exposed coal ash. The creek will flood or rains will disturb the soil. Now we have a full-fledged health crisis. Children, pregnant women, and senior citizens will get sick and possibly die. In 10-15 years, when the current Town Council members aren’t here, these people will have to be relocated and the buildings torn down—at taxpayers’ expense.

Is this really what our Town has become? Are these really our values? Are we so bereft of any sense of morality or justice that we would rationalize our way into this decision?

The choice is clear: Say “NO” to 828 housing!

-Dr. Edward Marshall ( edward.marshall@duke.edu )

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