More Drugs Coming to Woodstock?

CH2M Hill has designs to build drug manufacturing and other industrial facilities on the site of Woodstock, and local citizens are up in arms. Not because the site has cultural significance or is hallowed ground--it's Winston Farm, the location of the Woodstock '94 festival, an attempt to recreate some of the music and magic of the original from the Sixties.

What has some citizens concerned are the potential environmental impact. Not that NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) protests aren't part of discussions around most major development projects (and should be), but given the recent studies suggesting pharmaceutical contamination of our water supply, these compaints may resonate more:

Pharmaceutical manufacturing “has a history of many serious environmental dangers for a community," said one environmental activist. This kind of comment might not have gotten much credence a few years ago.

The same critic expressed fears about possible nanotech production: “Nanotechnology is so new that the dangers are unknown . . . Simple substances which are usually very safe can become highly toxic when they are in nanoparticle sizes.”

Citizens are right to voice concerns over the environmental impacts of potential developments, and I'm sure CH2M Hill, a quite reputable firm, and local officials will give them due consideration.