Citizens for a Healthy and Safe Environment (CHASE) has joined the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL), a regional environmental justice non-profit organization.
The link with the multi-state organization will give CHASE greater capacity to defend DeKalb County residents from toxic air pollution, CHASE leaders say.
“We will continue to fight for environmental justice to stop energy corporations from bringing industrial projects to our communities that threaten the public health of people in Lithonia,” said CHASE President Renee Cail.
CHASE was founded in July 2010 by local residents opposed to a biomass power plant proposed by Green Energy Partners.
“CHASE has done well, focusing its efforts on preventing the development of a biomass gasification burning electric plant located on Rogers Lake Road in Lithonia,” said the Rev. Charles Utley, campaign director for BREDL. “The plant has not been built, and it’s not too late. We must remain steadfast in our goal.”
Dr. Darren Harper, a medical doctor and member of CHASE, spoke about the negative health impacts of biomass plants. According to a BREDL study, the proposed biomass gasification plant would be like adding 16,491 cars on the roads in South DeKalb, Harper said.
“We are concerned about the residents of Lithonia who are suffering with respiratory illnesses, fighting stenches from the landfills and facing toxic emissions from trucking and gravel companies,” Harper said. “We do not need another smokestack in DeKalb County.”
BREDL has helped organize chapters in communities across Georgia since 2002, and continues working across the state to protect water, air and environmental quality.
In March, BREDL celebrated its 30th anniversary. The League, which has incorporated more than 100 chapters across the region, has won environmental justice campaigns in six states stopping nuclear waste sites, hazardous waste dump facilities, and asphalt and other polluting industrial plants in rural and low-income areas and communities of color across the Southeast.