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Some Brookville residents worry about environmental impact of neighboring GM development

An early morning on Foxhole Farm in Brookville
Sam Wickham
An early morning on Foxhole Farm in Brookville

General Motors cleared trees late last month and applied for a permit to fill wetlands near its DMAX engine plant in Brookville, Ohio. Some neighbors have concerns about the environmental effects of the development. Foxhole Farm, LLC, owned by Sam Wickham and her husband since 2018, sits just a few hundred feet from the GM property.

Wickham lives on the pesticide-free farm with her children and animals. They sell their produce at local markets like Dorothy Lane.

“It's been a lot of sleepless nights just trying to pound the pavement, get the word out, notify our neighbors,” Wickham said.

She is worried about losing wetland and forest habitat because of the development, which she considers a buffer between the engine plant and her farm. She is also concerned about how the development will affect the water in the nearby Twin Creek watershed — one of the highest quality watersheds in Ohio, according to The Miami Conservancy District.

General Motors operates DMAX, a diesel engine maker, in partnership with auto company Isuzu.

GM declined an interview with WYSO but did confirm by email that it is considering future development on the site next to Wickham’s farm.

Here is the full statement from spokesperson Dan Flores: "GM is developing a business case for a potential future project. DMAX continues to run its normal operating plan, and we have made no announcements that would impact that plan. We have no additional information to share at this time.”

The public can send comments to the Ohio EPA about GM’s permit to fill-in the wetland until this Sunday, April 16. Email epa.dswcomments@epa.ohio.gov and provide reference number 238487W.

Chris Welter is a reporter and corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms.

Chris Welter is the Managing Editor at The Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO.

Chris got his start in radio in 2017 when he completed a six-month training at the Center for Community Voices. Most recently, he worked as a substitute host and the Environment Reporter at WYSO.
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