I have received several emails concerning the Golden Leaf decision to fund the consortium’s PR campaign. The following letters were written to the Golden Leaf Foundation prior to their decision. I am sure there are many more out there but these are a couple I have recevied. I withheld personal information from the emails.
Dear Golden Leaf Board of Directors,
I am writing today to encourage your organization to consider denying any request for funding or grants in support of the NC Consortium’s campaign supporting their lobbying effort to bring the National Bio-Agro Defense Facility (NBAF)to our state and Butner, NC. The time for promoting public support for the NBAF has passed specifically with only 42 days left for public comment from the community it is very disingenuous for the consortium to be seeking funding and aid to educate the public. The NC Consortium has had the better part of 2 years to carry out these activities and provide a unbiased factual campaign in support of this BAD IDEA and they have chosen to sculk around our community holding veiled public meetings with special interest groups which were often designed to limit public involvement. In their efforts they have invested primarily in ensuring that only a scripted message is conveyed to the public which at best has been long refruted as half truths and analogies that are not comparable to the actualities of the intended mission of the lab.
I ask that you educate yourselves prior to making this type of granting request and stand by your charter; to fund projects that promote sustainable jobs and economic growth in the counties that have been disenfranchised by the loss of the tobacco industry. Neither of which is promised by the DHS’s DEIS report. Citing of this lab in Butner will only, bring transient temporary jobs fielded by contracted construction companies and will only create a bubble of laborers at the end of the construction phases. As stated in the DEIS the actual jobs projection is reduced to a mere 63 jobs for highly trained and vetted persons whom more than likely will be recruited from other facilities of similar mission from around the country not North Carolina.
I ask that you take serious consideration of the Government Accountability Office’s reports and the US House Commerce and Energy Committee’s investigation of DHS’s scoping process and risk analysis before you decide to throw good money that should only be allocated for use as originally intended; to support NC communities NOT the non-taxpaying US DHS. Also, consider the line of applicants that have applied to your foundation who are truly deserving of your support who are looking for innovative ways to contribute to the quality of life in NC and to Granville county and ultimately adding to the tax base and sustainable jobs market.
Respectfully, PLEASE DO NOT SUPPORT this request.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
*** * East C St.
Butner, NC 27509
Letter Number Two
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Golden Leaf Foundation
301 N. Winstead Avenue
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Re: North Carolina Biotech/NCC-NBAF Consortium Grant Request/Application
Dear Golden Leaf Foundation Officers,
Hello, my name is ****** ******** and I am a sixteen year resident of Butner, North Carolina. It is my understanding that your organization is devoted to the social welfare and the economic well being of communities in North Carolina. I write to you today because I share similar concerns for my community’s economic and environmental future. Please allow me to quickly share a timeline with you so that you may better understand my reasons for contacting you today.
In July 2007, Butner was incorporated after years of operating under the direction of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. You maybe familiar with Butner’s history but if you are not, Butner is home to over sixteen state and federal facilities with a large community demographic consisting of developmentally disabled or severely handicapped individuals. In September 2007, the residents of Butner were informed though the media that a Department of Homeland Security Scoping meeting would be held in Creedmoor, N.C. concerning the placement of the proposed National Bio Agro Defense Facility (NBAF), a Bio-Safety Level 4 agricultural facility. At that meeting, Butner residents learned for the first time that our town had been entered into a competitive bidding process by the NCC-NBAF Consortium with twenty-nine other potential sites. Butner is now on a short list of five sites.
We were told at that meeting the facility would bring 250-350 jobs for Butner and Granville County. That the facility’s construction and operation would boost the local economy. This truly seemed like a win, win situation for Butner and Granville County, but you know what they say about things that are too good to be true. This is the case with the NBAF. Not all of the facts concerning the NBAF were being provided to the community by the consortium. To date the consortium has not held one public educational or informational meeting for the residents of Butner.
Since the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, we have learned many troubling things about the NBAF, in short the risk far out way any benefits. According to the DEIS, Millions of dollars will have to be spend for infrastructure to support the basic needs of the facility, at the taxpayers expense. Butner residents will be forced to endure fours years of construction as well as providing the funds for the maintenance of the supportive infrastructure, i.e., street maintenance. Many who live within the town of Butner are on fixed or low incomes.
Another newly released fact, DHS is proposing “routine aerial spraying of pesticides” in the Upper Neuse River Basin to prevent Rift Valley Fever from becoming entrenched in the insect population and the environment. Raleigh, Durham, Butner and surrounding areas get their drinking water from the Upper Neuse Watershed. Moreover, the NBAF will produce by DHS’s own admission up to 275,000 gpd (gallons per day) of pathogenic contaminated wastewater that will be put back into the Knapp of the Reeds and evidently flow into Falls Lake. Falls Lake is already classified as a 303d; water source, which means it, was impaired by previous effluent violations and is now closely monitored.
The potential for the release of Foot and Mouth disease according to the DEIS is moderate and the economic consequences will be catastrophic virtually putting an end to NC’s annual $65 billion dollar agro-businesses not to mention the nation’s export revenue. The dangers of a Foot and mouth outbreak were highlighted recently at a Congressional hearing investigating whether are not DHS had performed appropriate risk assessments insuring the FMD virus can safely be studied on the mainland. The GAO concluded DHS had not met that burden of proof.
In closing, when it is all said and done NC will receive approximately 63 jobs from the NBAF. The other jobs the consortium speaks of will be transferred from Plum Island. I argue that Butner deserves the chance, as a newly incorporated town to be prosperous with long-term sustained growth. The perceived risk surrounding this facility will not encourage community development nor will it promote new business development. I encourage you and request that your organization please deny any future funding or grants requested and applied for by the NCC-NBAF Consortium or NC Bio-Tech for purposes such as the promotion or public relation activity related to the NBAF proposal. Butner, Granville County and North Carolina deserve better. Many within the town of Butner as well as surrounding communities share my concerns. The Granville County Commissioners, the town of Stem and the city of Creedmoor oppose the facility.
The Butner Town council took a neutral stance waiting for the release of the DEIS.
Thank you for your time and I am sure you will do the right thing for all of the concerned citizens of Butner and surrounding areas. Feel free to contact me if you would like any further information or if you have any questions. You can also visit nobio.org for more information.
*** West C ST.