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Our own war

October 24, 2011
Morning Journal News


Well readers, the fat cats of New York and New Jersey are once again making ready to ship their pollution to poor Ohio. The Youngstown & Southern Railroad is repairing their crossings, a sure sign the Negley dump (Total Waste Logistics) will again be under siege sometime soon.

Oh sure, we concerned citizens near and around this dump have attempted to contact the organization which gave permission in the first place (Columbiana County Public Health Department), but all they say is the problem is not their responsibility and whose current director, Wesley Vins, refuses to meet with us. The past director, the one who gave permission in the first place, was convicted of wrongdoing.

Mr. Vins tells us we must contact the EPA as the dump is now under its jurisdiction. We have had public meetings, emails and phone conversations with the EPA and they continue to give in to the fat cats-as if "EPA" stands for Every Politicians' Answer instead of the Environmental Protection Agency with a mandate to protect the environment in which we live. My experience with them has been when you talk with them about this abomination in Negley, they fidget and look away saying their "hands are tied." It's all about money and the few people, organizations and companies who will benefit from the dump's presence: the Negley Village Council, Columbiana County and the Ohio EPA regardless of the air, water and health problems past, present and future caused by this dump.

In the 1940s and 1950s when almost everyone had a coal furnace and eastern Ohio was heavily polluted with coal smoke, strip mining run-off and factory pollution was rampant and running into streams. This caused foul smells and stream ecology destruction. Currently a great deal of this pollution has been stopped due to a reduction in coal burning, better water and air treatment practices and increased environmental education from the media and local schools.

I was born and grew up in this area. Back in the 1980s I worked for eight years in the hills above Negley where the dump is located. There, with a team of young men and one woman, we planted trees, various wildlife foods and developed water sources for wildlife and habitat protection. Deer, turkeys and grouse were abundant until recently. So why are we permitting these fat cats to dictate how we must live our lives with constant exposure to air and water pollution which this dump has already brought and will continue to bring if allowed to continue and, even worse, expand?

Believe me, citizens, we don't need to be fighting foreign wars when we have important battles going on in our own back yard.

John Herbert

East Palestine



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