Actions speak louder than words

We are writing in response to the opinion letter titled “Ahmeek Manufacturer Aims to be Good Neighbors,” published on April 24, 2024 in the Gazette. While we appreciate Neuvokas’s effort to address community concerns, several points warrant clarification.

First, Neuvokas has consistently attempted to placate us with empty gestures since 2021, when formal complaints were initiated by Ahmeek residents. However, attempts at appeasement do not equate to effective resolution of the underlying issues. Merely attempting to pacify affected residents, such as offering an open house and facility tours, does little to address the root cause of the problem.

Furthermore, the assertion that Neuvokas operates on a shoestring budget is contradicted by statements made to residents by the CEO regarding the company’s financial success. This raises questions about the company’s priorities and whether profit margins are prioritized over community well-being.

Shouldn’t odor mitigation be prioritized over increased production? Despite claims to the contrary, it appears that Neuvokas has not made this a primary focus, as evidenced by the more than 180 ongoing odor complaints. Moreover, dishonest statements made by the company regarding fines levied against them reflects poorly on its integrity and commitment to transparency and being “good neighbors.”

Comparisons with other businesses, such as Calumet Electronics and Koppers, show that effective odor mitigation is possible. Both of these companies have done an amazing job of putting their neighbors first and protecting them from foul, and potentially unhealthy, odors. It is disheartening to hear about the company’s statistical improvements when they bely the fact the odor remains pervasive and continues to diminish the quality of life for nearby residents. The recent $3.5 million addition to the facility– the amount stated by the CEO — suggests a lack of genuine effort to address community concerns in good faith.

The call for continued patience is understandable, but it begs the question: How long must residents endure these unpleasant conditions before meaningful action is taken? The loss of enjoyment of outdoor spaces during precious summer months is a significant sacrifice that cannot be ignored.

In conclusion, while Neuvokas may aspire to be a good neighbor, actions speak louder than words. It is imperative that the company take immediate and concrete steps to prioritize odor mitigation and address community concerns transparently and in a timely manner. For the residents of Ahmeek, we just can’t accept one more summer being ruined by the foul odors emanating from Neuvokas.

Mike Delesha

Debbie Butler



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