The dictionary defines diversion as “something that is intended to take someone’s attention away from something you do not want them to concentrate on or notice.
Diversionary is defined as “intended to take attention away from something.”
Alliance Metals and the Rose Law firm’s basic narrative is one diversion after another. They don’t use words like “smelter”, instead they use “recycling effort”. They won’t or can’t respond to our environmental or safety concerns with facts. Instead, they use generalities like “steadfastly committed to operate a secure and environmentally safe facility”, “our operations will go above and beyond required safeguards”. When we ask them exactly what they will do, they can’t answer the question…just saying it is so does not make it so. With ADEQ, they had to be specific and reveal specific knowledge to their operation, why can’t they do the same thing in addressing the concerns of the community? Instead they divert the conversation to jobs and taxes.
It is not my intention in this piece to combat their claims about jobs and taxes, I have already done that many times. My intention here is to point out that they have framed the discussion to be about being for or against jobs and tax revenue in the county. This has NEVER been about jobs and taxes! Rather, it has always been about safety, health and the environment and an inappropriate location for this type of facility. Those people who support this project say that the county needs more tax revenue and good jobs are missing the point, entirely.
Here is what this is about: having this type of facility, which the EPA labels as one of the dirtiest factory operations in the county, located in a population center, and also…
- 35 tons of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and hazardous air pollutants including dioxin and furan emitted into the air. (As listed in the companies Air Quality Control permit application and the draft permit from ADEQ). Rather than address this directly and explain what they will do they simply say, “State of the art technology, infrastructure and monitors will be installed to contain emissions and protect air and water quality.” This does not match the information they provided to ADEQ on their application.
- 30,000 gallons of chlorine. A quantity that they have variously said would be only 10,000 gallons or 5,000 gallons or 30,000 gallons. (Their application states 30,000). That quantity makes them an RMP facility subject to additionally EPA regulations. There are 12,321 such sites in the US. Fully 10% of them have had accidents within the last five years causing 19 deaths and $1,134,532,416 in property damages. If there were a catastrophic chlorine spill a lethal cloud of chlorinewould cover all of Wenden in just six minutes. If the wind was blowing in the opposite direction, the cloud would cover Salome in approximately twelve minutes.
- There will be both dross and salt cake, which is considered hazardous and toxic to humans, on site presenting the opportunity to leech into the ground water.
- There will be 584 50,000-semi trailer trucks on Highway 60, Salome Road and Centennial Road, most all of which will go through downtown Salome. (This information is from the company’s application to ADEQ.)
- The site is on a flood plain (Read More) and in the Wenden land subsidence bowl (Read More) according to the Arizona Department of Water Resources.(Read more on “Why the smelter should not be in Wenden”.)
There is no reason why Alliance Metals couldn’t find a more appropriate location elsewhere in La Paz County…one that is already zoned for Heavy Industrial and one that protects Public Safety, the air and the land/water. This is why talking only about taxes and jobs is so far off the main subject. The County would still make its income from tax revenue (however much that might be) and people who chose to seek employment with Alliance can do so.
The thing is, THEY realize that this is not an ideal location. In addition to the things that we are concerned about the plants location with respect to major roadways, such as an Interstate Highway, would be much better for their business since they will be getting raw material from Phoenix and California. A different location could afford them easier access to rail, which they also say is important. (From their letter to the community in the June 2019 issue of Ribbitt News.) A location closer to a larger population center like Quartzsite or Parker would give them a stronger employment base to pull from. They have already admitted that finding enough qualified employees was going to be a challenge. A different location would be good for everyone involved.
So the next time someone says that they support the smelter in the chosen location is not informed about the real issues around this project. Don’t let Alliance Metals and their PR/Law firm try to convince you that it is all about taxes and jobs and those of us who are against this project don’t want to make La Paz County better…that is all smoke and mirrors and a constant diversion tactic. Seek out facts and the truth.
We have always welcomed Alliance Metals to La Paz County, just not in Wenden but in a safe and appropriate location.