From Tony Nelson, North Iowa Landfill Board Member:
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