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Voice: The reality of living near the Brawley beef plant

March 25, 2002

On Tuesday there was an article in the Imperial Valley Press about all the wonderful things that the Brawley Beef plant owners are doing to stop the horrible odors that the plant is producing.

Let me tell you my reality. Every day I wake up asking myself if I will be able to go to work without feeling nauseated. Will I be able to work in my garden after work or will I be confined inside my home because of the nauseating odor? I love the outdoors and I am now forced to stay inside, feeling like a prisoner in my own home. I love to open the windows in my home; now they are always closed. The air quality inside my home is not good because we do not have the option of fresh air from the outdoors.

My daughters have asthma and they are sick more often now than they were before the odors from the plant permeated our air. They used to go outside and play with the neighborhood children, now they stay inside all the time, hoping to avoid more breathing problems.

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I have a daughter who has moved to Lancaster. She has been back to visit and has experienced the horrible plant smell. She was upset when she moved away from her home town. Now she is glad that she is no longer a resident here to experience the air-quality problems and be sick from the odor.

I attended a Brawley City Council meeting where the citizens of Brawley were told that the owners of the beef plant were working on the problem. They said that the problem would be solved within days. It has been weeks and the problem is not yet solved.

I want jobs for Brawley and do not oppose the growth that this plant will bring to our community but not at the expense of myself, my family and others. Our physical and emotional well-being must come first. I feel the Brawley Beef plant should be closed down until the odor problem can be properly addressed and completely fixed. Perhaps the owners should visit my home and neighborhood so that they can experience what we have to live with daily, firsthand.

I am tired of the Brawley Beef plant owners' promises. I want actions because actions speak louder than words.

ADELINA GONZÁLEZ V.

Brawley

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