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Statement from Tony Nelson on landfill’s rejection of ERS contract

This news story was published on February 3, 2012.
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From Tony Nelson, North Iowa Landfill Board Member:

Statement explaining my vote regarding the LNI and ERS agreement:

 I would like to state that last night’s LNI board meeting has been the most controversial topic I have been involved with since taking public service for the community of Clear Lake.  I have been a LNI board member for the past two years and have learned a great deal of how our waste is disposed of and how we have a top-notch facility that collectively 29 communities can be proud of.

The idea behind utilizing our garbage as a renewable resource or a sustainable practice is spot-on for what I believe is the future of waste and is in line with my own personal beliefs.  The independent report conducted by FOTH Infrastructure & Environment given to all LNI board members further solidifies that the technology with pyrolysis is viable and proven.  The report indicated that potential environmental risks to LNI and for the proposed ERS plant can be mitigated.

As a board member, I have the utmost respect of our executive committee and of the LNI director and his staff.  Their recommendation to pass on the ERS waste-to-energy facility indicates that at this time this proposal is not in the best interest of the landfill and how it operates.  At our January 12th 2012 meeting, I personally asked for their opinion and for it to be shared with all LNI members or communities.

With that said, we received a proposed agreement just before our session started.  I want to compliment Mr. Locher and Ms. Arthur for doing an outstanding job to come together with a proposal that was potentially agreeable to both parties.  However, my decision-making process with an agreement as such is not taken lightly.  I asked several questions to better judge the proposal and how it would affect LNI.  I received the answers I was looking for, but did not feel it was prudent to act on an agreement in one night’s discussion.  I prefer to digest items such as this before making a final decision.  A motion was made to vote on the proposal I had in my hand and I was not comfortable making that decision to move forward.  I am not against the opportunity to bring additional jobs or capital investments to our communities, but believe this agreement at this point in time was not the exact fit for LNI.  I represented my community and acted on my vote as a board member of LNI only and how it relates to our operation.

I am still open to discussions relating to alternatives for LNI and/or renewable energy.  I believe it would be beneficial for LNI to solicit opportunities in renewable energy.  I hope my fellow board members, council counterparts, constituents and other communities can give mutual respect for difficult decision I made.  My door is always open and I am willing to listen to your concerns or comments.


Tony J. Nelson

Clear Lake Councilperson and LNI Board Member

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17 Responses to Statement from Tony Nelson on landfill’s rejection of ERS contract

  1. Avatar

    Katy Voet Reply Report comment

    February 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    I would like to thank Mr. Nelson for doing the right thing. You have shown that you are a man of integrity and character by taking the time to explain you vote. I can see that you take your job as a landfill board member and the contract that was given to you seriously. Clear Lake is lucky to have such an honorable man on their city council!

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    Farewell Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Oh people it is/was the RIGHT thing to do period. Jobless rate is down you can work if you want to. Breath free MC! Someone once wrote it wasn’t Disneyland we turned down! We showed so many we will NOT be a TEST run for anything. Who could really stand that job anyway! Good thinking to all of you. It will be the right thing even in years to come and with a big sigh of relief! It will come out it is a bad deal someplace that won’t be so smart about it. You’ll see. Go get another drink Bookmeyer and Tornquist. Bully boys. I do have to say when you are finally gone(another score)you could have gone to work there. Huh? would you like that, how about it.

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    CM P Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Mr Nelson you are straight edged all the way! Thanks for looking out for us in MC!!

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    Coty Thompson Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Thanks Tony! Showed true character. Thanks for sticking up for the minority.

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    Sandy Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I woke this morning at 4:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep because I kept thinking about what happen at the landfill meeting. I thought I would have a feeling of great joy because I won. I didn’t have that jump up and down wow we did it. I kept thinking about how you looked and the expression on your face. You wanted to and I do believe you did the right thing for the landfill. This was one of the hardest things you have had to do I’m sure. I personally want to say thank you not for the yes vote as much as being the kind of person that you are. I hope someday my grandsons will have the kind of character that you showed Thur. night. I am sure you may get negative feed back for the way you voted but hold your head up high and look them and the eye and be proud of who you are what you stand for.

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    iced tea Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Thanks to Tony for his vote in opposition to the project. I know it took a lot of courage and I respect him for acting on his convictions. He was under a lot of pressure. I hope the “power-that-be” can respect him and his due-diligence and not retaliate. I, too, think someday this process will prove to be successful. On a smaller scale, it could be built at the landfill and benefit the landfill and the communities it serves. Our landfill would be locked out of options for 20 years if they had signed on to be the test case for CES.

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    Carol Patnode Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I appreciate that Tony explained his vote and respect him for having the courage to make his own decision. Although him and I do not agree on the environmental safety of this particular facility, I respect his opinion and believe it was important for everyone that he acted with honor and integrity when he voted. There was much pressure for him to do otherwise.

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    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I wonder if the people commenting on the greatness of this project would have been willing to work in a hot building sorting through rotting garbage, dirty dippers, animal waste, a mixed brew of liquid that would empty your stomach and all the other filth being disposed of. I mean we can’t get enough workers for good jobs. Serta is advertising for workers now.

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    Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Whether you agree with Tony’s vote or not, it took a lot of guts to vote the way he really felt and then explain it. You could cut the tension in that room last night with a knife. Hats off to you, Tony.

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    anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    To ask an official to make a decision on a legally binding document with a 20 year life span after having only had a minimum amount of time to digest it is completely uncalled for. The Board needed to be very deliberate on this decision and Tony is right, they should have taken more time. That said, any smart person who knows parlimentary procedure knows how to bring this back. I’m sure Mr. Nelson is being hectored about it right now. The issue is not dead yet, folks. Not by a long shot.

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    Mike Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    It took a lot of courage to stick with what you felt was right and vote the way you did Tony. I don’t know if you’re vote was the best thing or not, but I think you believe it was and that’s what matters. You conduct yourself as a councilman and board member in a very open and honest way that should be applauded.

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    Cindy Connor Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I would like to give a tremendous amount of credit and thanks to Mr. Nelson for his no vote on this controversial issue. I know he may loose relationships with small minded people over this, but to have the guts to vote your convictions is a sign of a true leader. That is what you look for in your elected officials, and it’s a rare quality to find. Thank you Tony. You’ve gained a lot of respect in our community.

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    wishy washy Reply Report comment

    February 3, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    To Mr. Nelson. The point is you just killed a $35 million dollar project with a $2 million dollar payroll. I am curious if the project would have been in Clear Lake if you would have voted no? Doubt it. Thanks Mr. Nelson for you leadership.

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      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 3, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      Your still stuck with the globe and kmit at fifty jobs. Most already figured out 10 to 15 would be employees already working the landfill and the top 10 positions would come from out of Iowa as no locals could operate this system!!!! Then the bosses sitting on their you know what collecting a paycheck and spending it in some other atate. Why have they fought so hard for 20/25 jobs ????? HUUUUMMMMM.Thanks to those that voted NO for us that would have to live breath smell and hear this thing running!!!!

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      Bob Reply Report comment

      February 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      @Anonymous…. Even IF 10-15 jobs came from the landfill, the only ONE that mattered was Bill Rowland’s and he probably wouldn’t have been re-hired by CES anyway. That’s WHY he recommended not to move forward with the project. Also, this project would NOT have killed the Landfill of North Iowa… it would have continued on a smaller basis (less waste being buried under a hill of dirt) which is EXACTLY what should have been done!

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      Dave Reply Report comment

      February 3, 2012 at 6:14 pm

      I think Bob hit the nail on the head. Bill is taking care of Bill first and to hell with the 10 to 50 new good paying jobs and to hell with the fact we are creating a mountain of waste that will be there for our great-great grandkids to deal with

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      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      February 3, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      Bob, do you have any proof to back up your assertion about Mr. Rowland? Under what pretense would CES have the authority to hire or fire Bill Rowland? The contract was to work together; the landfill would not have been under CES’s (ERS) authority. Come back when you have real facts please.