‘Toxic air emissions.’ Group organizes protest against New Indy Plant in Catawba


CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Residents in Catawba are tired and angry. They say the New Indy Plant is forcing people to leave the community for the sake of their own health.

Now, lawmakers are joining the fight for fresh air.

“We’re seven months in and nothing is changing, it’s just as bad as it was six months ago,” Kerri Ann Bishop explained.

More than ten people met on Thursday at Walter Y. Elisha Park to discuss their next steps.

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“So that we could plan our protest against New Indy and their toxic air emissions,” Bishop said. 

Bishop is one of the people leading the charge against the containerboard facility that’s been spewing out hydrogen sulfide into the air because of unapproved water treatment processes.

“Frustrated.. sad..we have a lot of people who are starting to sell their homes and you gotta do what you gotta do, what’s best for you,” she said. 

The fight has gotten so big that Senators Mike Fagan and Michael Johnson have stepped in to help.

Sen. Michael Johnson sent a letter to the Chief Operating Officer of New Indy on Wednesday.

It reads in part: “New Indy has a blatant disregard for these people and our community and all requests to date from me and other elected officials have fallen on deaf ears.”

‘It’s ridiculous.’ Town Hall held for SC residents to discuss lawsuit, complaints against New Indy plant odor

“I’m very thankful for him that he acknowledges what we see,” Bishop said. 

Bishop says she hopes that after their protest more people realize what’s going on.

“Because we’re still hearing, well yeah, I smell it but I don’t know what it is..so, I’d like more people to see it and understand what it is, that it’s not a chicken farm or whatever they may think.. and my hope is that New Indy would do something to upgrade their equipment.. fix their aeration lagoon, I mean there’s lots of stuff that needs to be done..it just needs to go faster,” Bishop said. 

FOX 46 asked Bishop why a protest when there’s a class action lawsuit in play. She said that could take years and the community needs to continue to do what they’ve been doing to get their voices heard.

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