Carbondale City Council denies solar special-use permit

Nov 6, 2018

At Carbondale's City Council meeting Monday night, the council voted to deny the solar company Brightfield a special-use permit that would allow the company to build on the former Kopper's Tie Plant site.

The meeting was well-attended, and Carbondale's residents voiced their disapproval of the special-use permit to the council. City Council members listened to their consituents, and voted to deny the special use permit 6-1.

The Kopper's Tie Plant site is contiminated with creoste and other toxic chemicals from treating railraod ties to prevent rotting. For 90 years the plant operated and employed Carbondale residents. Many of them lived next to the plant in the northeast community of Carbondale.

The EPA shut down the plant in 1991 because of the toxic chemcials used.

Many of the former employees now have died from dieases and cancer caused by creoste, and their families continue to live with contiminated ground and the lasting effects of the tie plant.

The vote to deny the special-use permit came after a Brightfield representative presented the logistics of the project. According to the presentation the solar array park construction would not disturb the soil, power 4000 homes, and could bring $3.4 million to the City of Carbondale.

But as one concered citizen Melissa McCutchen asked the council, "How much is a life worth?"

Carbondale residents made it clear to the City Council, they did not want the money the solar array park could provide, and would like the contiminated land to be left alone.