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Sustaining our quality of life (06/03/2012)
From: Mike Kennedy

President, Will Dilg Chapter

Izaak Walton League of America

The Will Dilg Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America requests that the City Council, at its June 4 meeting, deny the permit for expanded shipment from the commercial dock operated by CD Corp. This would be in compliance with the provisions of the one-year moratorium on expansion of crystalline silica (frac) sand operations within Winona. It would allow sufficient time for completion of further studies and answers to the many questions that still remain. We see no justification for a City Council rush to judgment, or any precedent for the planning staff’s instruction to the Board of Adjustment suggesting that the commercial dock was somehow “legally exempted” from the moratorium. We further question the BOA’s narrow consideration of certain economic interests to the apparent exclusion of other important issues.

As President of the Local “Ikes” chapter and a small business owner, I have a dual interest in the long-term economic vitality of this city and the sustained quality of life of area residents. I recently traveled to the Williston area of North Dakota, to witness firsthand what the fracking industry, in all its dimensions, has done to the social and environmental fabric of those communities, and what I saw were very sad and dramatic changes for the majority of the residents. Often the lifelong residents not only wish the “boom” had never come, but are leaving or considering moving mostly due to quality of life changes that involve needs and aspirations for themselves and their communities.

Winona is the city where conservationists came together in the 1920s to help create the Izaak Walton League and protect the natural resources of the Upper Mississippi River. We have to thank the dedicated efforts of conservation visionaries like Winona grocer and philanthropist John Latsch, Chicago advertising executive and first President of the Izaak Walton League, Will Dilg, also Save the Wetlands and Memorial Hardwood Forest founder Richard Dorer, for their efforts to preserve the beauty and integrity of today’s river and bluffland environment. These precious resources of land, water and clean air are worth more in economic terms, today and in the future, than any proposed resource extraction, exploitation and export for quick profit. It is our responsibility to remember and honor this legacy.

Now is when our City Council can act to demonstrate its integrity and commitment to true democratic process for the citizens of Winona.

“To strive for the purity of water, the clarity of the air, and the wise stewardship of the land and its resources;

to know the beauty and understanding of nature, and the value of wildlife, woodlands and open spaces;

to the preservation of this heritage and to our sharing in it,

I pledge myself as a member of the Izaak Walton League of America.” 


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