Eyota residents want answers - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Fanna Haile-Selassie

Eyota residents want answers

Eyota, MN (KTTC-TV) --

Eyota residents against a proposed ethanol plant say more residents do not want an ethanol plant in their backyard. As the city studies more into the health effects of the plant, volunteers say residents are starting to realize the plant is not worth it.

I have in my hands a letter Eyota mayor Wes Bussell just sent a letter to governor Tim Pawlenty Friday morning. It's a request for help regarding the proposed ethanol plant. Bussell is asking for Pawlenty to use his influence to get the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to do an environmental impact statement for the city.

The city of Eyota is trying to take matters into its own hands when it comes to the safety of its residents and the proposed ethanol plant. As it stands now, residents' health concerns aren't being answered by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

"Air pollution emissions, the plume, anything coming from the plant that's a pollution would be blown in to town 9 months out of the year," says Tom Dornack, the co-chair of Olmsted County Concerned Citizens. It's an organization which is against the ethanol plant.

Eyota mayor Wes Bussell says in the last meeting with the MPCA, he put the state workers on the spot.

"My question was, 'if I were to build you, your spouse, and your children a house out here, 100 feet off where you think this line is, would you feel safe living there?' And the answer was 'no'. And I said, 'how about 200 feet away from that line, would you feel safe living there with you, your spouse, and your children?' The answer was, 'no'."

In the end, Bussell says the MPCA couldn't tell him how far away from the ethanol plant was a safe place to live. That plant would sit less than half a mile away from the western city limit.

Dornack says the Olmsted County Concerned Citizens' petition shows just how many residents don't want the plant.

"If you interview 10 people, somewhere around 8 people do not want the plant. And a certain number is just neutral. And somewhere between 10 to 15 percent max, want the plant right now."

Now the city wants an Environment Impact Statement done for their city, and the mayor wants Governor Tim Pawlenty to help get one done. However, many in the city feel Pawlenty is the "ethanol Governor."

"There's at least a perception that he's wanting these renewable energy projects to slide through and get through. And I'm not sure that they're taking the real concern of the citizens and the people at heart," explains Bussell.

Bussell says he's not necessarily against ethanol production, he's just concerned about the health effects of having a plant so close to the city. Eyota will most likely find out whether the city will get the environmental impact statement at their next meeting with the MPCA. That date is september 12th.

Powered by Frankly