Hattiesburg residents and officials object to new company - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Hattiesburg residents and officials object to new company

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Hattiesburg city officials and Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality members met Monday at the Danny Hinton Community Center to hear concerns from Palmer's Crossing residents about a company who is looking to make Palmer's Crossing its new home. City officials say they are not turning business away, but they have to protect their residents.

"Being a concerned citizen, we are all concerned about what they want to do and how they want to do it," said Charles Clark, resident of Palmer's Crossing.

 Clark came to Inline Forest Products proposed location on 620 Hood Road, to speak against the company setting up operations in his community.

"Nobody said anything about the alternatives to this chemical that they want to put on this wood," said Clark.

Clark is worried about a chemical being used to treat lumber in the area. Ward 5 Hattiesburg City Councilman, Henry Naylor, says Inline has applied to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality for a permit to begin log debarking and log fumigation in Palmer's Crossing using Methyl Bromide, a product Naylor says is toxic.

"They have requested a permit from MDEQ to allow for them to spray toxic chemicals on the wood that's behind me," said Naylor.

Naylor added that after MDEQ notified city officials of the toxic spray, the news spread from city hall to Palmer's Crossing.

"We realized that we didn't want it. There are some questions about it there are still some unanswered questions," said Naylor.

A few of those unanswered questions came from an official letter from Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree.

"Fumigation process, about air quality and emissions, about Methyl Bromide...What is Methyl bromide?, " said DuPree.

DuPree says none of those questions have been answered by MDEQ officials, and leaves many residents unsure about what inline will be bringing into their neighborhood.

"What is the contamination of the soil? Is the process enough to keep the air quality safe?," said DuPree.

A new company means new job opportunities, but city officials say they are not willing to put business over community health.

"We are a business friendly community. We want businesses to come to Hattiesburg. We want job creation in Hattiesburg, but at the same time we want the citizens here and the companies that are here to be safe," said DuPree.

Naylor added the area of Palmer's Crossing that Inline wants to operate in is zoned Industrial One, and the kind of work Inline wants to do shouldn't be allowed in Industrial One zoning. Tonight's meeting ends at 7:30 p.m.

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