Whitesburg KY

Florida group against prison being built here

A Florida-based organization is publicizing a comment it filed this week opposing a plan by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to build a new federal correctional facility at Roxana or Payne Gap.

The comment was filed Monday by the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). It addresses a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that analyzes the potential locations for what the group says would be the largest federal prison ever built in the region.

HRDC, a non-profit organization based in Lake Worth, Florida, says its comment addresses facility siting as well as its social, economic and ecological concerns about the prison, including:

• Health impacts from prison sewage and industrial waste;

• Health concerns for prisoners who it says would be forced to use “highly contaminated water”;

• Impacts to “forest, farmland and regional waterways”;

• Impacts to over “50 threatened species, including the rare and federallyendangered Indiana Bat”;

HRDC also questions whether the prison is actually needed.

The release by HRDC says its comment was signed by nine other organizations and eight individuals, including the Center for Biological Diversity, a group that has litigated on behalf of the Indiana Bat; the Abolitionist Law Center, which is representing prisoners who have reported serious health issues at a state prison in Pennsylvania related to surrounding coal mine operations; the Global Justice Ecology Project; Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, and three professors at Eastern Kentucky University.

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