Environment

State Sen. Danny Britt to Malec Brothers: I stand by my community to protect them from methyl bromide

Sen. Danny Britt Jr. of Columbus and Robeson counties: Opposes the proposed log fumigation project, at least for now. (Photo: General Assembly)

If Sen. Danny Britt Jr. didn’t have a cousin who lives near a proposed log fumigation facility in Delco, he might have never heard of Malec Brothers or methyl bromide or a proposed log fumigation operation that would release 100 to 140 tons of highly toxic chemical into the air each year.

But families talk, and one of Britt’s cousins told the senator about the controversial project after attending a raucous public hearing on May 3.

And now Britt, a Republican representing Columbus and Robeson counties, has written a letter to the company opposing the project.

In a letter dated May 11, Britt told  David Smith, head of procurement for Malec Brothers, that he has received calls, emails and Facebook messages from constituents about the proposal. “My people are very upset, as well as myself,” Britt wrote.

A Delco resident posted Britt’s letter, written on General Assembly letterhead, on a public Facebook page devoted to the community’s opposition to the fumigation proposal.

“Until I have further information and know more about this initiative,” Britt wrote, “it is my desire that Malec Brothers not be granted a permit from DEQ.”

Britt had not heard about the proposed project until May 4, the day after the first public hearing. No one from the company contacted him, Britt wrote, nor did any Columbus County officials, Department of Environmental Quality staff or any advocacy groups “in support or against” the project.

Both the Columbus County planning board and the Board of Adjustment voted in January to approve zoning for the project. According to planning board minutes, no one from the public spoke for or against the facility. However, these meetings are held monthly in Whiteville, 28 miles from Delco, and often deal in arcane government business.

Announcements of DEQ public hearings and comment periods are posted under “news” on the agency’s website, but they are not prominently featured. By law, the agency must also post announcements in an area’s paper of record — usually in the legal notices of the classifieds section.

DEQ is continuing the original public hearing on Tuesday, May 15, at East Columbus High School gym, 32 Gator Lane, Lake Waccamaw. An information session begins at 6 p.m., followed by the hearing at 7 p.m. The agency has extended the public comment period a second time to May 18.

2 Comments


  1. Reginald Webb

    May 16, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the prior public hearing held on May 3, 2018. However I was in attendance for last evenings’ hearing and given several opportunities to voice my sentiments, I did just that. Given the august crowd size and the many who spoke, there was 100% opposition to approving Malec Brothers to utilize this poisonous chemical in our bedroom community.
    The auditorium at East Columbus was full and the residents made known their agreements with those who spoke in opposition to permitting the use of methyl bromide in Delco, N.C.
    I respectfully request your assistance in using your office to insure that the hard working people of eastern Columbus county and Western Brunswick county are not subjected to this very dangerous chemical which is presently banned in many jurisdictions and countries.

  2. Jon

    May 21, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    We do not need this here why pick Delco NC to become the methyl bromide capital of the US? It causes many terrible health effects and they are only required to test the air to where their property ends. Everything I read says with the wind it can travel 3 miles from its origination. It’s supposed to be worse for children neurologically this could really effect them of doing something great for the human race remember Abe Lincoln was born in a small log cabin in Kentucky.

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