Marginalized community fears impact of proposed crypto mining facility

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PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – As the community of Belvoir awaits the Pitt County Board of Commissioners’ vote on a proposed building site for Compute North’s next data center facility, they want their voices heard by as many as possible.

That is why they gathered to speak at the Holly Hill Free Will Baptist Church on Porter Road Friday morning.

The voices of Belvoir Elementary School parents, area residents, and advocacy group representatives were heard speaking of what they called injustices to impoverished areas of the community.

“This is a statement to the children at this school that because of their socioeconomic status, they are less deserving of a high-quality education and life and that is not true,” said Belvoir Elementary School parent Vicky Respass.

The Director of advocacy and civic engagement for the Association of Mexicans in North Carolina told WITN that most of the residents surrounding the proposed building site do not speak English as their first language.

For those residents, not having appropriate accommodations in the communication process of the proposal created additional hurdles to overcome in understanding what is potentially coming to their backyards.

“It just takes them out of the process. It makes them feel even more out of the loop than they already are, being in a strange environment, being in a different culture,” said AMEXCAN Director Alex Urban.

If given approval, Compute North has already announced that it plans to expand operations into Eastern North Carolina.

“It’s just the beginning,” said Belvoir Elementary School parent Molly Holdeman. “This company has plans to expand and if it happens in Pitt County, just think of all the poor Eastern Carolina counties that this company would want to move into.”

WITN reached out to the Pitt County Board of Commissioners about these accusations.

Dawn Jones with the board of commissioners said, “We regret the county cannot comment on this matter because the board is in the middle of a quasi-judicial proceeding.”

The board was expected to make a deciding vote on the matter at the Oct. 18th meeting, but prolonged the hearing until Nov. 1st so they could consult with acoustic experts on the noise disruptions, or lack thereof, that the facility may create.

The board is now expected to vote on the matter on Nov. 1st. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at 1717 West 5th St. in Greenville.

Copyright 2021 WITN. All rights reserved.

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