Preserve the Commons, a local group opposed to the spreading of biosolids in the Nisqually Valley, held a public meeting Thursday, June 20, with speaker Richard Honour, a microbiologist and researcher interviewed in the controversial film “Biosludged.”
Nearly 80 people were in attendance for the Thursday afternoon meeting. Preserve the Commons will hold its next meeting July 10.
During his presentation, Honour, who said he holds a doctorate in soil microbiology and plant research, congratulated the group on the progress it has made in opposition to the fertilized substance. Without their citizen activism, people wouldn’t be as informed about the apparent risks of “sewage sludge,” he said.
“Citizens do what citizens do. They know what they don’t,” he said.
Honour uses the term “sewage sludge” instead of “biosolids” because he said he believes it better represents the danger to human health that comes with applying the human-treated fertilizer to land.
“Any other made-up name is deniable,” Honour said. “It’s not pejorative enough.”
State and federal studies have shown that biosolid application is not detrimental to human health when under tight regulation.
When asked about his background, Honour gave out his business card and said to visit his website to learn more about his education, research with the substance and activism. A visit to www.precautionarygroup.org returned no results.
Michelle Horkings Brigham, a member of Preserve the Commons, said recently that their cause has since collected over 500 signatures from individuals and businesses in the community to oppose potential biosolids sites near Yelm.
The group also celebrated the recent decision by Abston Henricksen, the farm that would receive the biosolids material, to pull out from the deal. In a move of sincerity, Ed Kenney, a founding member of Preserve the Commons, told attendees to write letters of thanks to Abston Henricksen’s president.
“I would like to encourage as many Yelm residents as possible to send ‘Thank Yous’ to Jason Abston for making the decision to not accept sludge from Fire Mountain Farms,” Kenney said.
But this does not mean that biosolids won’t be spread at sites near Yelm. Peter Lyon, manager of Washington State Department of Ecology’s Solid Waste Management Program, said earlier that Abston Henricksen could easily resume their agreement with Fire Mountain Farms if they change their mind.
Honour said that Abston pulling out from the deal was a good thing for the community.
While Preserve the Commons members keep an eye out on Fire Mountain Farm’s application, Kenney said the cause is expected to take up additional environmental injustices up river.