Liberty County residents are looking at posting comments on a proposed log fumigation permit.
Local residents have been active on social media trying to line up opposition for the permit, which if approved by the state Environmental Protection Division, is believed to enable Weyerhaeuser to use methyl bromide to fumigate logs before shipping overseas.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, methyl bromide is used to control pests in agriculture and shipping. Methyl bromide is odorless and colorless and has been designated as a compound that depletes the ozone layer. The U.S. has phased out production of use of methyl bromide, according to the EPA, with important exceptions for uses such as quarantine and preshipment.
It is used to treat commodities such as grapes, asparagus, logs and other imported goods, according to the EPA, to prevent pests from coming into the U.S.
Methyl bromide is a toxic substance and because it dissipates rapidly into the atmosphere, it is most dangerous at its fumigation site. According to the EPA, human exposure to high concentrations of methyl bromide can cause central nervous system and respiratory system failures and can harm the lungs, eyes and skin.
The company made a request in January to rezone 28 acres off Highway 17 from A-1 to I-1. According to the company’s request for rezoning, logs at the facility may undergo debarking, merchandising with a cut-to-length system or fumigation before being loaded onto shipping containers and sent to the Savannah port.
No mention of fumigation materials was made when the rezoning request was brought before county commissioners.
Weyerhaeuser personnel on the site include a yard manager, a scaler and equipment operators.
In his letter to the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission requesting the rezoning change, the export yard manager said it was the company’s “goal to maintain a safe, clean, and efficient working environment and be active in the local community.”
The plant is planned to be built a half-mile off Highway 17 and about a mile from I-95. The company expects to have approximately 60 log trucks coming in and out of the facility daily.
Public comments are being taken at firstname.lastname@example.org until November 17 at 4:30 p.m., with Air permit application in the subject line of the email.