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Shekinah praises County Commission

Dear Editor:

Attending the County Commission meeting last Thursday reminded me of one of the reasons I enjoy living in Johnson County: our body of elected officials are willing to listen to and act on the behalf of small communities within our county.  Dr. Richard Cochrane, of the newly formed Concerned Citizens of Trade (CCT), addressed the Commissioners of his neighbor’s concerns over a proposed asphalt plant on 421S, next door to the Trade Fire Department.  A few years ago, Radford Quarries of Boone bought the larger quarry on Doe Creek in Butler and built an asphalt plant with the intent of producing asphalt yards away from one of the most pristine trout fisheries in the Appalachians.  A small group of local citizens objected, sued and stopped Radford’s plan to produce asphalt through an out of court settlement. Now Radford has received a permit from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to produce asphalt yards away from Roan Creek. Permits for such industries are granted freely and public hearings are not encouraged. Our county commissioners, mindful perhaps, of their brave, yet short lived, stance against a proposed dairy CAFO several years ago, have learned not to overstep their legal constraints.  To their credit, they considered their few options and exercised the best one: to allocate funds to retain an environmental attorney to explore whether the citizens of Trade have a case to demand TDEC pull the permit and have them reapply, this time with a public hearing. I feel confident the asphalt plant will not happen in Trade because of the resolute stance of the CCT and the support shown from our County Commissioners. I also wish to thank our county mayor, Larry Potter, who has championed this cause in the midst of his very busy schedule. He has arranged for a public hearing at the courthouse on April 11th, Thursday, at 5 PM with TDEC, who were reluctant to accept Larry’s invitation to attend last Thursday’s County Commission Meeting.  I hope to see you all there.

Dennis Shekinah