Monday, November 26, 2007

What happens in Atmore.....

Check out the Poarch Creek Casino development.

farmers in atmore have joked for years about taking our operating loans to biloxi and "getting it over with." now we can skip the drive to biloxi. cool.

several months ago, i noticed a bulldozer clearing some land in an area just outside of atmore. a company called "c&s chemicals" purchased the land and planned to manufacture a chemical used to purify municipal water supplies--i think it was aluminum sulfate. the plant would be a steel building (no smokestacks or emissions) set well off the road and piles of aluminum ore outside. the company chose the site because it was next to a railroad line with good rates and, more importantly, was located outside of city limits. escambia county has little or no zoning regulations, so a landowner can do pretty much whatever makes them happy. joyce and i have remodeled two houses and never pulled a permit or had an inspection. this is good. two men recently started a private junkyard next to one of my fields. this is bad. the land the chemical company purchased was in a primarily residential/agricultural area free of zoning requirements, so they can legally build a chemical plant and no one can stop them. this is not to say that no one will try.

there was a town hall meeting and, as often happens at public meetings, the loudest and least informed seemed to dominate the proceedings. the idea of living next to a chemical plant that used sulfuric acid (part of the manufacturing process) was more than some people could handle. community meetings continued on a weekly basis, prayer vigils were held, and homemade signs started popping up along the road near the plant location. the ordinary soon turned to the absurd. "no c&s chemicals" became "are you for US or THEM" and my personal favorite, "sulfuric acid is toxic." correct. so is gasoline, household bleach, cigarette smoke, drain cleaner, chocolate (to your dog), and beer--if you drink too much. i did a double take the morning the coffin showed up.
about a month ago a patient came to my brother-in-law's office and told him that the plant location was chosen for population control purposes. huh?

when too many people who think exactly the same (on any issue) spend too much time together, they tend to become extreme. "i don't want to live next to a chemical plant" turns into conspiracy theories about racism and population control. go figure. why didn't anyone have a problem with the two farm chemical warehouses three miles away or the airplane spraying cotton across the road or the farmers (like me) driving past with pesticides on the back of a pickup?

not much has happened for the past month or two. rumors are that the coalition against c&s wants the poarch band of creeks to purchase the land but i don't know for sure. for now, the signs are still up and the coffin hasn't moved. maybe i should put a plastic santa and some christmas lights on it.

finally, if you are into cars, this is funny. what's not to like about a volvo 740 cut into a pick-up truck?



Lisa said...

Ha! That's really funny. I get a kick out of those signs too. I thought you were going to put a picture of the sign that was near Ewing Rd. that said "No Chemiculs!" Your picture takes the cake though!

Kevin said...

Hey, there's my next new car! Jason, throw the coffin in the back seat...err, truck bed, and ship that red beauty up north here!
Great story.

Carrie said...

Cool. I just might come visit you, Joyce and Jason, IF I could see a casket in your yard AND a "pickup" Volvo parked in your driveway. Then I would be seeing the CLASSIEST of my friends.

Anonymous said...

And now, according to the Press Register, Barkley, a very weird, very decadent human, will be taking up residence in Atmore, living at the Crenshaws (whoever they are...). That is even a greater pollutant, and one that should be watched...Joanne

Anonymous said...

HHhmm. . Joanne I read that story as well, but didn't think about it until I read your comment that the house where Barkley is supposed to live is just down the street from the casket display. Janice

Cottonista said...

That is scary news, Joanne! Some friends of ours live right on that street, and our kids go over there to play.

Kevin--you missed your chance with the beamer. Now why would we bend over backwards to get you a Volvo?

Carrie--it takes class to know class. ( :

Lynette said...

My question is: Does the funeral home get to write this off as a donation to charity -- you know, bettering the whole community -- or did someone just loan out their own personal casket for the cause? I'm seeing the add in the paper now: Coffin for Sale -- never used, er, used once, er. . .what the heck -- sat out in the weather for months, but it won't matter once underground! :)