Residents of the Mills Gap Road area, who live near the contaminated former CTS of Asheville site will hold a viewing of WLOS’ hour-long investigative report on the issue this afternoon. The residents, many active for years in bringing attention to the problem, will renew their call for accountability from the Environmental Protection Agency and a full clean-up.
The report, alleging along with some of the residents that the EPA knew about the contamination for year before any action was taken, is the product of a six-month investigation by WLOS Reporter Mike Mason. It airs at 4 p.m. this afternoon. The residents are inviting the community to join them for a town hall at the Skyland Fire Department and view the report live. At the end they will talk about where they want to see things go next.
“Right now we don’t need cheerleaders for the EPA; we need accountability and reform,” Tate MacQueen, a longtime resident, activist and critic of the EPA’s response to the contamination, tells Xpress. “This is a shared effort,” he added, noting the work of local activists and media in bringing attention to the issue over the years.
The site, an electroplating plant closed in the 1980s, has remained a problem for over a decade, contaminating local groundwater with trichloroethylene, a suspected carcinogen. In the meantime, some residents have called for a full clean-up and repeatedly asserted negligence and even active cover-ups on the part of federal and state government agencies. Last year, the EPA added the site to its Superfund list.
Twenty-three residents are currently embroiled in a court battle over the issue, and won a victory earlier this year when the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled they had the right to proceed with their case.
Below is a preview of WLOS’ report: