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Letter: East Grand Forks council must guard the interests of the people

The optics of the city annexing this land, zoning it for industrial use and the land having been purchased by the company seems to deliver the message that the approval of a conditional use permit is all but a done deal.

Letter to the editor FSA
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What does the city of East Grand Forks know that Polk County doesn’t? In April of 2021, Polk County commissioners denied an application for an interim permit to allow an asphalt plant to be built within a few miles of the proposed site now being considered. Polk County based their decision, in large part, due to the possibility of the odors emanating from the asphalt plant contaminating navy beans. Yet the City Council deems it fit for human consumption.

The bean controversy being set aside, the asphalt plant is being given serious consideration by the East Grand Forks City Council, as shown by their annexation of land giving them control on its use. If navy beans can sway a decision like this, how do we make the leap that it’s OK for human beings? Am I less of a commodity than a navy bean? I know this smacks of N.I.M.B.Y. (not in my backyard), but no, I don’t want it in my backyard. I want businesses to thrive, but not at the expense of our citizens’ way of life.

The optics of the city annexing this land, zoning it for industrial use and the land having been purchased by the company seems to deliver the message that the approval of a conditional use permit is all but a done deal. Yes, they held public hearings and heard the negative comments. Unfortunately, no navy beans showed up to protest. Still, they alone have the power to give final approval for this project to move forward. Once in place, this plant will never be moved. But it will have a negative effect on the people who farm the nearby land that generations before them farmed.

The City Council is entrusted with the power to guard the interest of the citizens their decisions directly affect. Even if those citizens are farmers who do not vote in city elections. We ask that you reconsider this decision before this week’s vote. Vote for what is right for the people, not what is most expedient for a business. Vote like it’s going in your backyard, not in my backyard.

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