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Letter: Keep East Grand Forks asphalt plant away from populated area

A city council is, by design, representative of the people they serve. One would hope they would listen to all affected parties when an issue comes before them that is this contentious.

Letter to the editor FSA
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On Tuesday, May 3, the East Grand Forks City Council will vote on whether to allow a permit for RJ Zavoral to build a hot mix asphalt plant on the northwest corner of US Highway 2 and Polk County Road 17 in East Grand Forks. This property is adjacent to the beet plant lagoon area. It is also close to several farmsteads that have been in families for generations past and, hopefully, will be for generations to come.

A city council is, by design, representative of the people they serve. One would hope they would listen to all affected parties when an issue comes before them that is this contentious.

This permitting process, once denied by Polk County at a nearby location due to concerns of contaminating beans, is moving forward because the City Council approved the annexation of a plot of land for the asphalt plant, effectively overriding the county’s decision. This will not be a temporary facility. It will be a permanent fixture on the edge of the city. While there are a multitude of reasons for not allowing this plant to be built, the least of which would be noise, smoke, traffic and unknown pollutants, there seems to be an overriding reason to allow it. The annexation and upcoming vote have all taken place within a relatively short period of time.

RJ Zavarol & Sons has been in business for decades. They have assisted in flood fighting efforts many times over. This isn’t a grudge match against the company. This is a very real concern about the location of a hot mix asphalt plant being proposed near farms and on the very edge of the city itself. Just as common sense dictates, one doesn’t bring a fox to a hen house hoedown; one shouldn’t bring an asphalt plant to a populated area. These plants belong in isolated areas far away from family farms, city folks and yes, even hen houses.

Name recognition alone, even well-respected ones, should not be a deciding factor for this project. Approval will have long lasting negative effects.

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