NoC2D group disappointed with commissioners’ vote

To the editor:

Approximately 25 people against the Riverview Energy Refinery in Dale were present at the Spencer County Commissioners’ meeting to voice their opposition to the commissioners’ resolution in favor of the refinery. After statements by both sides were read without discussion, the commissioners voted 2-1 in favor of the resolution. We were, of course, disappointed in the commissioners’ decision. We thought Commissioner Brown should recuse himself from the vote since he sits on the board of the Lincolnland Economic Development Corporation. As a commissioner, he represents the citizens of Spencer County and should protect our health and safety above all. As a board member of LEDC, he represents a group that supports development regardless of community safety and health. These roles are in conflict.

I was especially disappointed after talking to Commissioner Seiler and Commissioner Brown after the meeting. I felt that they had not done their homework. For example, they were not aware that this plant would release 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. This fact is in the air quality permit. I was surprised that they would vote on a resolution that, as one of them put it, he had lost sleep over the decision. If this is the case, why be so quick to vote yes? I was encouraged that they both offered to be available to continue a discussion. I do want to give a big thank you to Commissioner Al Logsdon who voted for the well-being of his constituents!

I also thank President Blake Bunner and the Spencer County Council for allowing us to speak freely and at length with them on the commissioners’ resolution. This was the first time we were allowed to have a discussion where both a council and NoC2D citizens contributed in a positive discussion. We felt as though, finally, the approximately 1,400 petition signers were being listened to. We were extremely encouraged by the fact that the council decided not to vote on the commissioners’ resolution. They will attend the hearing and listen to the challenges to IDEM and then decide if they want to take a vote at all. Perhaps they will even write and vote on a new resolution opposing this massive step backward for our region.

—Mary Hess

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