Lt. Col. Jim Scott is the commander of the Radford Army Ammunition Plant, and says Thursday’s community meeting is a win for two reasons.
Not only is the plant delivering on its promise of transparency, but is following through on its commitment to the environment — a comprehensive Virginia Tech study suggests that food can be safely grown and eaten from as close as a few kilometers away.
“I’m very pleased that we’ve had the open discussions and dialogue to get us to where we are tonight,” he said. “It was phenomenal. It was a phenomenal night.”
He points to the nearly hour-long Q&A with those who came to the meeting.
“I love seeing the passion in our community members, and then the collaboration with the university to come on and do some of that analysis and present that back to the community, to help ease some of their concerns,” he said.
“I think it’s a great start. Even they admitted it’s not quite complete yet, there are still results to be analyzed. We’re looking forward to those results,” said Alan Moore, an environmental scientist who lives nearby.
He says that the study is impressive, but that the plant still has imperfections to address, like its open-burn practice.
“No, actually there are so many complex issues going on with such a big operation as the arsenal that it’s hard to stay focused on just one issue,” he said.
He adds that the plant could work to better involve and inform the community, and that Thursday’s meeting is only the second he has attended where an armed policeman was not present.
With future meetings scheduled, Moore says that he appreciates the plant becoming a partner, not just a neighbor.
“I think what it does indicate is that they’re making progress. And that’s really the best that we can ask” he said.