It was 1995, and the plan in motion would have put a hog processing plant in the small town of Kingsboro, outside Tarboro — an IBP slaughterhouse operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and would have brought tractor-trailer traffic rumbling through Rocky Mount and Tarboro at all hours of the day and night.
While Edgecombe County wanted the industry, the predominantly Black residents of Kingsboro did not. The public hearings were filled with people objecting to the issues such a project came with: zoning, water demand, waste discharge on top of low-paying jobs for the residents of Edgecombe County while the plant’s managers, and higher salaries, would be located in neighboring Nash County.
The opposition came was both diverse and overwhelming; hearings had overflow crowds chanting “No IBP!” Yet county commissioners plowed on, and voted to rezone the property.
Opposition wasn’t what ultimately killed the project, according to retired Tarboro attorney Marvin Horton. The job of slaughtering up to 20,000 hogs per day took a lot of water—water the area couldn’t afford to give.
“They were going to build a (water) line from Rocky Mount, and they were going to build a line from Tarboro, but nobody had checked how much water they were going to use. When they did, they found out IBP would be using two to three times the flow of the Tar River every day,” Horton told the Rocky Mount Telegram in July.
You can hear more from the founders of Citizens for Responsible Zoning, the movement launched to stop IBP, on the 25th anniversary of this environmental justice campaign, at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, at www.wcpsradio.com, 105.7 FM and 760 AM. A video will also be published on Facebook at @ThePheonixHistoricalSociety on Friday after the radio broadcast.