To the editor
We want to respond to the comments the North Branch EDA Board made in reference to those who signed petitions and spoke out against the Superior Silica Sand development.
Many of us thoroughly researched the matter and spoke to people who live in communities that have undergone a similar development. Accordingly, we know what the impact of hundreds of trucks hauling sand through town will be on our roads and bridges and how air quality will be affected and what the impact on our health will be. We made our comments based on what we have learned to be the facts in this venture, the truth.
Yes, the public has acted quickly because we know from past ventures, like the Tiller project, that city officials will jump the gun and make decisions even before permits are secured, thus narrowing the window for public response. History tells us that citizens have to move quickly to protect their own wallets and health.
Our mayor has said he wants government to be transparent. The citizens want government to be transparent. But the mayor and some on the council seem not to want citizens to be involved, vocal, and part of the deliberations.
A case in point: It was reported widely that Superior Silica Sand had withdrawn its offer to move into North Branch, but now it seems the mayor and members of city government met privately with this company, beseeching them to reconsider their withdrawal – despite the clear message from citizens in North Branch and Taylors Falls that we do not want such a dangerous and costly venture to take place in our midst.
We want participatory government. We want to be let in on deliberations that affect the public health and the public pocketbook. It is after all our lungs, our wallets. We want to be able to speak our mind without disparaging comments from our representatives in government. We want to be viewed as concerned citizens, not as impediments to the desires of elected officials.
Jeff and Carolyn Burnoski