Franklin County Citizens Keep Up Pressure to Fix Biofuel Plant Issues

Citizens living around the GRP Franklin Renewable Energy Facility in Carnesville will again be at tonight’s County  Commission meeting and say they’re not going to stop coming before the Franklin County Board of Commissioners until something is done to relieve the issues they claim are depriving them of the peaceful enjoyment of their homes and property.

At last week’s Commission work session, dozens of irate citizens again voiced their concerns about the stench, noise and ash coming from the plant on Highway 198.

Among those who spoke was Gay Elliot who lives on Hunter’s Creek Trail.

Elliot said she’s ready to take the fight to court.

“I did contact attorneys today who will take a class-action suit,” she said. “They took under my name, but they need everybody to call them. I’ve got the numbers and if you’d like them after the meeting, I’ll be happy to give them to you,” Elliot said.

Calling the biofuel plant a biohazard, Sheila Baker told the Board the citizens of Franklin County were lied to when the owners of GRP first pitched their biofuel plan to the County.

Sheila Baker /Thomas Bridges trt: 23 oc: straightened out

Commissioner Ryan Swails said he visited the properties surrounding the plant.

He told the group he is committed to ensuring GRP adheres to State and Federal guidelines.

“My goal is to do my best, along with other county officials, to ensure they (GRP) do what they say they are going to do,” he told the crowd. “If not, there are other agencies out there. I know the EPD is involved trying to gather more information as far as how much damage occurred and what can be done to prevent it in the future. I’m sorry that it’s come to this point, but I can tell you that the wheels are turning, and that we are trying to figure out what we can do to resolve this.”

Meantime, an email from Veolia, the Company managing the biofuel plants in both Franklin and Madison counties sent an email to County Manager Beth Thomas last week with an update on where they are in the process of getting the plant up and running.

In that email, a copy of which was sent to WLHR NEWS, Company officials said they have taken the plant offline temporarily to fix a boiler, but once fixed work to complete construction will continue.

Company officials acknowledged the noise concern from neighbors after several of them toured the plant.

They said sound surveys will be conducted as soon as the plant is online and stable.

And they indicated they have also had a meeting with local emergency responders to discuss emergency events at the plant and it was determined that plant Pre-Fire Plans were needed which could be shared with the local responders.