Local GOP Voters Are Learning That Pollution Knows No Boundaries

Local GOP voters are learning that pollution knows no boundaries

Illustration by Kenneth Harrison

Of all the pejoratives opposing sides throw at each other in political debates, I’ve always thought one of the most damning is NIMBYism – “Not In My Back Yard.”

That’s the charge earned by folks who support potentially damaging government policies — until they come to their world. As in, “I don’t care if they allow more pollution from that power plant in Arizona, I live 1,000 miles away.”

In most cases NIMBYism just shows gross selfishness. But when it comes to environmental policies it also reveals ignorance of a fundamental truth about the Earth’s ecosystem: Nature makes neighbors of us all.

Those thoughts came to mind with this recent local headline: “Jefferson Council signals intent to rescind permit for Waggaman cyanide plant.”

It seems a year ago the council unanimously approved that permit against no opposition, but now residents living in Harahan and River Ridge — across the river and often downwind from the existing plant — are demanding that decision be reversed. Homeowners said they were already tired of getting whiffs of “noxious” chemicals in their suburban air. They want that stopped, not extended or increased.

They charged the council with caring more about the economic fortunes of a company than the health of constituents.

“This is not about jobs and economic development. This is about the Jefferson Parish Council ensuring the health, safety and welfare of the citizens,” said a River Ridge resident.

And these voters became incensed when council members pointed out none of them had showed up to state their objections at the meeting when the permit was granted.

Read the rest of the article at The Times-Picayune.