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U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt says Gadsden poultry plant proposal over amid FAA concerns of attracting wildlife near airport

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) on Wednesday issued a statement detailing the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) concerns over a proposed poultry rendering plant at the Northeast Alabama Regional Airport, effectively terminating the proposal.

Aderholt sought an FAA review of the proposed plant over constituents’ concerns that it would attract wildlife to the airport.

“This morning, my office received the attached letter from the Federal Aviation Administration concerning the proposed poultry rendering plant for property at the Northeast Alabama Regional Airport in Gadsden,” said Aderholt. “I had previously reached out to the FAA to convey concerns expressed by the public for this proposal. The letter from the FAA makes it clear that such a facility, which they believe would attract wildlife, would not be a good choice to locate on airport property.”

The FAA letter says the agency fielded submissions from pilots and citizens alike, who were concerned about the location of the proposed rendering plant. The agency said the Jackson Airports District Office concerns’ echoed those of the local public. The FAA recommends that the plant, which it calls a hazardous wildlife attractant, needs to be located at a distance of at least five miles from airport operations.

He added, “While the FAA remains open to proposals for the plant, I think any reasonable person who reads their letter can conclude a poultry rendering plant is not likely to get their blessing to go forward. I believe this effectively ends this proposal for the plant.”

Aderholt concluded, “I am a firm believer in economic development, and I stand ready to help anyone who wants to bring jobs to the Etowah County area. But any plans for bringing jobs should always have the support of the public, and needs to meet the demands and requirements of the property where it would be located.”

State Sen. Andrew Jones (R-Centre) took to social media to express his gratitude to Aderholt for his letter to the FAA outlining concerns of many over the plant’s proposed location.

“Today is a big day in our over 9-month fight against the proposed rendering plant in Etowah County,” the Facebook post read. “Thanks to Congressman Robert Aderholt’s letter to the FAA expressing the concerns of our community, the FAA has responded with a very direct, make-no-bones-about-it statement.”

“The FFA’s own guidance is for a hazardous wildlife attractant to be located at least 5-miles from the closest aircraft operations,” continued Jones. “This means that it should be almost impossible for the airport to win FAA approval for the transfer of the property for construction of a rendering plant. The Gadsden Airport Authority, the City of Gadsden, and the IDA need to see the writing on the wall.”

He concluded, “It is now more important than ever that EVERYONE show up this Friday at noon at the Venue and hold the Gadsden Airport Authority accountable. The GAA needs to rise to the occasion and finally put the nail in the coffin for this awful proposal! After the FAA letter today, the proposed rendering plant is only hanging on by a thread. Once again, I would like to express my appreciation to Congressman Robert Aderholt and all the members of the opposition for helping us get to this point!”

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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