Jasper’s violations have cost taxpayers thousands

To the editor:

Many persons have recently commented that it “appears” the biomass incinerator is dead, so Healthy Dubois County proposed a seven-point settlement offer. Bill Kaiser and Wayne Schuetter blatantly misrepresented it to the public they supposedly serve. Five (settlement items) may equal seven at a Jasper Utility Service Board meeting, but that math wouldn’t pass elementary school.

Jasper government thwarting HDC’s discovery rights was one of several intentional, illegal violations that cost taxpayers undisclosed thousands when the first trial was set aside on appeal. Eight more months passed before Jasper lawyers produced a one-page evidence list specifically demanded by the court. Recently, thousands of document pages arrived, which Jasper lawyers didn’t produce during 2011 broader discovery. Still, Jasper officials whine that it’s the “other guy” wasting time and taxpayer money while local media avoids the full story.

Jasper government failed to heed loud educated warnings of the plant’s fundamental flaws. Mayoral candidate Terry Seitz eloquently and prophetically enumerated many deficiencies in his June 24, 2011, published statement, summarizing: “I am officially opposed to an agreement between the City of Jasper and Twisted Oak LLC. My decision is based on these key factors: economic development, the business plan, the marketplace and community well-being.” Recent Herald coverage specifically omitted HDC quoting Seitz’s previous stance.

Jay Catasein failed for two years to sell the power yet just needs “a chance” per Mr. Schuetter, who heard early on why experienced farmers like my father said they would not grow miscanthus grass. Expensive planting, baling and on-farm storage — easily exceeding thousands of dollars per acre — are squandered should Mr. Catasein fail to produce promised profits.

Should Jasper officials expect robotic buy-in while publicly compromising their own integrity?
How much of our “brain drain” stems from the hypocrisy of expecting young people to learn correct math and behave on the playground only to witness prominent leaders caught in gross contradictions for profit at others’ risk and misery?

The proposed Interstate 67 (from Jasper to I-69) may serve as an evacuation route both for critical thinkers and citizens fleeing in the event of a biomass boiler explosion, like recent tragedies at California and Minnesota plants.

—Norma Schue Kreilein, M.D., FAAP

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