Fluoride opponents make their case to Port Angeles City Council
PORT ANGELES -- An overflow audience -- many people wearing buttons showing support or opposition -- listened for nearly four hours Wednesday night as the two sides in the fluoridation debate presented their arguments to the City Council.
The two-day hearing is an appeal of the city Community Development Department's March ruling that fluoridation of the city's water supply -- as voted by the City Council more than a year earlier -- would pose no significant environmental threat.
Fluoridation opponents are trying to get the March finding overturned by having the City Council order an environmental-impact report.
The public hearing continues for another four hours tonight with possibly the last of the city's witnesses, then cross-examination of witnesses and council questions will begin.
Each side's witnesses sat in separate sections of the audience Wednesday. Their attorneys and City Council members looked back at each other over stacks of documents and binders.
The public hearing will continue today at 6 p.m. in the council chambers of City Hall, 321 E. Fifth St.
The seven-member City Council has not indicated whether it intends to decide the issue tonight or adjourn for deliberation.
PA council to spend two nights on fluoride debate
Port Angeles city council members won’t be out enjoying the pretty summer evenings the next two nights. Instead they’ll be working inside at PA city hall as they hear detailed arguments over fluoridation of the city’s water.
After delays lasting the better part of a year, the city council will finally be considering the appeal from fluoride opponents, who are fighting to overturn the council’s order to treat the water last year.
That hearing to approve fluoridation of the water happened in early 2003, with a majority of the council siding with fluoride supporters. That included many of the area’s dentists and medical professionals, who said that putting fluoride in the water was the best way to counter what they called a “health care crisis” caused by bad teeth.
But fluoride opponents have said the city ignored newer evidence which questions whether fluoride is the best course to dental health, and may even cause more problems than it might solve.
Fluoride opponents, including the Clallam County Citizens for SAFE Drinking Water, want the city to prepare a full environmental impact statement before treating the water. But those same doctors and dentists will be arguing for the council to stick with the earlier plans and accept the staff’s recommendation. That hearing is an open public meeting, but only those are parties to the appeal will be allowed to testify during the two night presentation Wednesday and Thursday.
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