Residents Concerned about Threats to Environment and Democracy in Decherd

Decherd, Tenn. – People living along scenic Greenhaw Road, outside of Decherd in Franklin County, continue to fight plans for a rock quarry on 181 acres acquired by the owner of Tinsley Asphalt Company. On July 19, a vote will be held to determine whether to strip-annex the land to the City of Decherd in order for it to be rezoned as industrial to allow for the quarry.  However, the only Decherd residents allowed to vote are members of the Tinsley family.

Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM) members joined Greenhaw Road residents when they formed the Keep Greenhaw Green Coalition to coordinate a sustained campaign opposing the quarry. The group has been active since 2010 and will continue to fight plans for the quarry. SOCM is urging community members to attend the July 19th vote to let city officials know their concerns about the quarry.

SOCM members and residential groups are concerned not only about the blatant disregard for democracy that is occurring in Decherd, with only members of the Tinsley family being allowed to vote, but also the environmental destruction the quarry would cause.

“This area offers a plethora of spectacular places to hike, cave, fish, hunt and breathe fresh air in quiet surroundings,” SOCM member Philip Lorenz said. “It also has its share of lower income residents struggling to make ends meet. But the last thing Franklin County needs is another quarry, especially when it is being railroaded down people’s throats, and leaving the residents of Greenhaw with no way to have a fair say over their part of the community.”

Beverly Campbell-Meaker, a SOCM member living in Decherd, worries that the approval of a quarry on Greenhaw Road represents a few steps backward for her community. “I feel it will destroy the good works that have gone into building up the community, as well as being a trashy and unsightly eyesore in what is now a beautiful natural area,” Campbell-Meaker commented. “I am sure there are already resources available for obtaining rocks, gravel, and such, without destroying this part of the Greenhaw community.”

Georgia Hewitt, a SOCM member in the community of Alto, questions the wisdom of industrial activity in this corner of Franklin County, especially when weighed against the potential damage to the environment and the standard of living for people in the area. “I believe it is a guise for greed and market domination at the cost of our local watersheds and quality of life,” Hewitt said. “I would never live near a quarry. I would fear for the stability of the land, the noise, and the negative effect on livestock and crops.”

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About SOCM

SOCM – Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment – is a member-run organization that encourages civic involvement and collective action so that the people of Tennessee have a greater voice in determining their future. The mission of SOCM is to empower Tennesseans to protect, defend, and improve the quality of life in their communities across the state. SOCM is working for social, economic, and environmental justice for all. We are committed to the journey of becoming an anti-racist organization. Recognizing our interdependence, SOCM is committed to overcoming social and institutional racism and embracing our diverse cultures.

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