Midlothian Breathe Invites Concerned Citizens to Meeting Dec. 5

Midlothian Breathe Volunteers
Midlothian Breathe volunteers photo provided by Midlothian Breathes

Who Is Midlothian Breathe?

Like those of us at Focus Daily News, you may have noticed the recent buzz about Midlothian Breathe. We are all invited to find out more Dec. 5. That’s when the nonprofit invites concerned citizens to join them from 6-7:45 p.m. at Meadows Library in Midlothian.

I was intrigued enough to check out the informative midlothianbreathe.org site and social media posts. After reading, I reached out to the group asking for more information. Communications volunteer Jane Voisard responded with some interesting information about their organization.

The group, she says, is comprised of mothers, grandmothers, concerned citizens and professionals. They all want to leave future generations with cleaner air. They believe we are heading toward dirtier air.

Midlothian Breathes

Concerns About LaFarge Holcim Permit Request

Voisard writes, “After speaking with a wide range of individuals, as well as countless hours researching both the background of the cement plants here in town and current health and environmental issues related to LaFarge Holcim’s recent permit request, we are taking a stance as a group.”

The group’s immediate goal is to stop approval of this permit. Its current form allows Holcim to increase production and burn petroleum coke. Midlothian Breathe members believe this could double and even triple certain pollution output. Carbon monoxide, particulate matter, lead, and sulfur compounds are possible. Members of the group warn that improvements in air quality seen since 2006 will stop if this permit is granted.

“We’re particularly concerned with growing medical research linking particulate matter — even at levels below the EPA thresholds — to long-term health problems,” Voisard said. “It seems unfathomable that Holcim is risking the health of area residents and backtracking in a time when we should be cutting down on carbon emissions.”

Holcim Cement Plant Midlothian
Photo provided by Midlothian Breathes

Holcim Track Record “Not Great”

The group notes that Holcim’s track record has “not been great in the arena of corporate responsibility. “You’ll find information about its legal maneuvers that have resulted in extracting millions of dollars from our county, city and school districts under the Know tab on the Informative Meetings page on our site,” Voisard notes.

The Ellis County Appraisal Office has filed counter-suits, which is an unusual move for that public entity. “This speaks to Holcim’s ‘concern’ for our community,” Voisard said. “Our group, quite literally, consists of local moms and other citizens who feel like it’s time to speak up. We hope to find the best path forward for the community we love.”

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and LaFarge Holcim promised the group a meeting to hear citizen concerns. But so far no date for this meeting has been set.

Midlothian Breathe invites everyone in the community to join them at Thursday’s meeting from 6-7:45 at Meadows Library. For more information, please visit their site or send them an email to midlothianbreathe@gmail.com.

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Jo Ann Holt
Jo Ann Holt is an award-winning journalist with 40+ years of experience as a writer and editor. She loves live performances, from country music concerts to Broadway musicals to community theatre productions. Holt also enjoys art and cultural festivals, and good food and wine. She’s toured Amsterdam, London, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and various cities in Mexico but looks forward to visiting even more countries. She has traveled by boat, plane, and train, but especially likes taking long road trips across the U.S. with her husband, retired history professor Durhl Caussey. They enjoy meeting friendly people, learning about different cultures, and visiting historic sites wherever they go.