Editor, Times-Union:

In the last few weeks, the members of the Cass County Redevelopment Commission have been working to bring Waelz Sustainable Products (WSP) to the Agriculture Business Park. So far, however, all meetings seem to be happening outside the public eye. Recent COVID-19 restrictions have limited the number of people who can attend public meetings on the plant’s construction. Further, the Commission’s meeting on March 17 failed to provide remote access for Hoosiers wishing to attend. This lack of transparency has left the public with more questions than answers.

Hoosiers in Cass County recently learned this plant was forced out of the Muncie community due to the same health concerns we have. Why should Hoosiers in Cass County be subjected to harmful pollutants that others so rightfully rejected? The WSP plant could add mercury and lead to our farming lands and in our drinking water, putting all Hoosiers in danger.

I know that the company maintains its “these will not be released at levels harmful to the environment” approach, but as a science teacher with research experience at Purdue University, I can say their statement is not rooted in fact. Lead and mercury are bio toxins that buildup in an environment over time. So the release and the level of pollution only gets worse the longer the plant remains in a community, setting up long-term, adverse effects on our land, water and our own health.

It appears the only way the public is getting facts from the company is through the media. It would be nice if we all could have more transparency on this issue, including a face-to-face public forum once the pandemic subsides. We need Hoosiers to have input on their future, and not be ignored by businesses or special interest groups.

Laura Fred-Smith

Candidate, Senate 18

Royal Center, via emailTransparency