[Note: The following letter was sent to
Lincoln Daily News and another newspaper in regard to a local
issue, a proposed ethanol plant. The letter is in regard to an
editorial in the other paper. It was sent to Lincoln Daily News
as well in order to share information and feelings about the
In response to an
editorial [in the other paper] on April 9:
Playing the shame card (Part 1)
I live in the housing area just
north of the proposed site for the ethanol plant, known as the
Epperson Addition, along with lots of other people. I am not a
"letter to the editor writer," but I could not resist this one after
reading the [other paper's] editorial titled "Tens of millions of
dollars for Logan."
I'm confident that this
correspondence will be much too long to put into the paper all at
one time, so there will be a Part 2 and maybe a Part 3. I'm leaving
it up to the [other paper's] editors to decide how much they can put
in at one time. They can put the "Part 2" and "Part 3" labels in
where they see fit. I just hope they do not edit or delete anything
I have to say. I'm sure I'm opening myself up to lots of animosity,
but here goes:
Each time I pick up [the other
paper] I keep reading that we as a group (the nearby residents) are
opposed to the plant being built at all, anywhere in the county.
Apparently, [the other paper] hasn't been reading their own "Letters
To The Editor" columns. It seems to me that it has already been
pointed out on many, many occasions that we are not opposed AT ALL
to the plant being built. We are merely opposed to the LOCATION, as
you like to so vaguely put it, "just north of Lincoln." This is
definitely a "dead horse" issue and should be put to rest.
So in the editorial, Mr. Wrage
played the shame card in an attempt to turn all this around onto the
"nearby residents" group, like our goal was simply to deprive the
county of future income and drive us all into poverty. As for [the
other paper], your appearance of support for Mr. Wrage's statements
leads one to believe you threw out the shame card also. It seems you
folks would rather print that Mr. Wrage believes we do not want it
to be anywhere in Logan County and in fact, should be ashamed of
ourselves for our objections, and that we are actually in favor (as
demonstrated by our objections) of depriving Logan County of all
this wonderful money.
Well, I for one, say shame on [the
other paper] and shame on Mr. Wrage for attempting to misdirect the
public into thinking this whole deal is nothing but wonderful,
wonderful, wonderful and those of us who think differently are just
downright narrow-minded and moronic.
Every issue has two sides. Why
hasn't Illini Bio honestly discussed the downside of the whole
From the very beginning, I don't
believe that the Illini Bio-Energy representatives have been totally
upfront with the people of Lincoln and Logan County. Why was that?
Perhaps the answer is reflected by Mr. Wrage's own statement, "If
you were told that it's going to blow up, that it will suck your
wells dry, that it will pollute your air, of course your (sic)
Did anyone besides our group notice
that the EXACT location of the proposed "plant" was not announced
until we began pushing for that seemingly hard-to-divulge
information? The early announcements about the plant in the various
newspapers (in terms of its location) had only the vague reference
to being "north of Lincoln," which in my estimation, covers a long
distance and could have meant just about anywhere out of the city. I
would venture the guess that most folks, including myself, leaped to
the conclusion that this meant far off out in the "boonies" of the
county somewhere. Surely that was not on purpose, was it? I was
surprised this wasn't included in Mr. Wrage's list of "if you were
told" stated above.
At any rate, those at Illini Bio
must have felt this exact location information was rather
significant, in terms of it becoming an alarming factor to some of
the "nearby residents," and therefore did not announce it earlier in
the game. Perhaps it could be explained away as being kept a
"secret," like other developments around town, out of "necessity."
Or perhaps it was because the exact location would alarm more than
just the "nearby residents," due to the close proximity of the plant
to the city limits and, in turn, the city residents as well.
[to top of second column in this letter]
"They" keep saying there is no danger
of explosion. If this is true, why is it that the Illinois EPA is
requiring them to create (for possible implementation) an explosion
evacuation plan that will cover an area of 2½ miles around the
plant? By the way, for those of you who don't already know this, it
is only 1.6 miles from the proposed site to the downtown Lincoln
courthouse. I have measured this twice in two different vehicles,
because I couldn't believe the results the first time. Of course,
what this means is that the 2.5-mile radius will take in a much
greater distance in area as far as the city of Lincoln being in
potential danger goes. This is a fact -- and you are right, not one
that was ever included in the sales pitch.
In reference to the existing homeowner
wells being sucked dry, I have no knowledge that this will or will
not occur. Very simply, what I do know is if I put a straw into a
glass full of water and the tip of the straw goes to a location at
the bottom of the glass to begin removing water, the water level
appears to be dropping from the top down, not the other way around.
About the pollution: The levels they
say will be produced I believe are within the "legal" levels set
forth by the state and are therefore "acceptable" levels of
pollution. What an odd concept. It's OK to pollute the air after
all. Ask someone with asthma if they think there is an "acceptable"
level of dirty air to attempt to breathe.
Oh, and don't forget all those "tens
of millions of dollars pouring into the Logan County economy" at the
You stated that every farmer in the
county will benefit financially from this plant. I agree with that
statement. So why is it so difficult to also see that anyone who is
a farmer or a relative of one or who has any financial interest in
this plant and is also on the Logan County Board is in a conflict of
interest situation and should not be allowed to vote on the issues
surrounding this plant?
Regardless of legalities, anyone on
that board would be hard-pressed to state that their judgment (when
it comes down to voting) would not be influenced by the personal
financial gain of the plant being approved. Maybe they should pull
some character or integrity off the shelf in their machinery sheds,
blow the cobwebs off and let their consciences be their guide. They
will continue to live in this community long after their vote is
Now, getting back to the good folks
at [the other paper]. You stated, "The nearby residents also are
opposed to what they say will be an unacceptable increase in truck
traffic, obnoxious odors, noise, flooding nearby flood-prone
Brainard's Branch with discharge and -- and surely we've left
something out." That last statement "and surely we've left something
out," did not sit too well with me.
It was as if we are all a bunch of
whiny know-nothings who just go on and on about the smallest of
issues instead of focusing on the bigger, more important financial
"future of the county" picture.
I'm getting ready to play the shame
card myself, can you tell? It goes to the folks at [the other
paper]. I don't believe that statement was in any way responsible
journalism, nor was it, in the least bit, respectful of your readers
-- you know, the ones who spend their money to buy your newspaper.
If we are to debate any issue, can't
we respect the opinions of BOTH sides? I know Illini Bio has an
agenda here. But so do the people who will be affected by that
Illini wants to make money with an
The Logan County Board wants to
bring much-needed income into the county through additional business
Lastly, the people who will be
required to live FOREVER with the upcoming decisions on the table
want to be able to live comfortable, healthy, safe lives with their
What a big responsibility for those
in charge of us little folks to bear. Good luck with that.
(Posted April 16, 2005)
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