As Sanderson Farms considers building a chicken processing plant in Cumberland County, North Carolina, some area residents are voicing opposition to the project. About 350 residents with questions and concerns about the proposed plant came to a meeting held August 7 at a church in Fayetteville, the Cumberland County seat.

Sanderson Farms is looking at constructing the facility in Cumberland County’s vacant Cedar Creek Business Center, a 485-acre industrial site east of Interstate 95. If realized, the proposed Sanderson Farms plant would employ as many as 1,000 people and would generate an estimated $1 million in property tax revenue annually.

But organizers of the meeting are less concerned about its positive economic impact and instead focusing on possible environmental impacts. The group has been circulating petitions, had yard signs printed and has even started a website dedicated to persuading residents to oppose the proposed Sanderson Farms plant.

Of chief concern to the people attending the meeting, according to the Fayetteville Observer, is water quality. Other potential issues, such as odors, dust, feathers and truck traffic were also mentioned.

Representatives of three environmental groups, along with a professor from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, spoke to those attending the meeting.

Absent from the meeting were elected officials representing the Fayetteville and Cumberland County governments. However, one state official, Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Fayetteville, said a new plant in Cumberland County would create a “significant environmental hazard to the Cape Fear River basin.”