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Marchers protest Canton mill’s discharges

“Keep it clean! We’re downstream!” was the rallying cry for protesters at a demonstration held Saturday (March 1) demanding that Evergreen Packaging clean up the Pigeon River.

A crowd of more than 100 came from Cocke County, Tenn., East Tennessee State University and Warren Wilson College to march around the Evergreen plant in Canton. Police and state troopers stood in front of and behind the protesters keeping the streets free of cars.

Protesters of all ages held signs proclaiming, “Pollution Stinks!”, “100 Years is Enough,” and “Make Love, Not Dioxins.”

At the end of the route, the group gathered in a park across from the mill to hear speakers, including environmental attorney Gary Davis and Clean Water for North Carolina Executive Director Hope Taylor.

At the last joint rally for the Pigeon River held in June of last year, the group was awaiting the renewal of Evergreen Packaging’s wastewater permit. To date, the permit has not been released and is more than a year overdue.