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Using information to make decisions (05/08/2013)
From: Marie Kovecsi

Following the frac sand issues has become quite irrational lately. Our elected officials, from County Commissioners, City Council members and even our Senator do not use reliable information to make decisions. The recent Senate vote to protect our trout streams included testimony from the Commissioner of MN DNR, speaking in favor of the amendment. Yet, our Senator has been quoted as saying the one mile setback is arbitrary and not needed.

Our county and city elected officials have voted to NOT request further study from mines or to address traffic issues by collecting information. What kind of elected officials make decisions with less information? Our state MPCA and Health Department both had science evidence and reason for why an EIS would be needed by local officials, in order to make better local decisions. Yet these officials voted against the option to gather more information. What information are they using to make decisions? It seems like industry public relations has been doing its job.

The public has presented concerns, issues, data and requests for protection of our natural resources, our health, safety and welfare. All of these are reasons to make decisions based on full information. Yet our officials have said they do not need Traffic Impact Studies or Environmental Impact Studies. Citizens are left wondering what else we have to do to have influence on these important decisions. We have discussed, called, written, researched, attended city/county/state hearings, testified, provided educational speakers, etc since about August of 2011 (when Biesanz was blasting twice a day, 4-5 times a week). Citizens have done their homework, but who is listening? This is not just a few disgruntled citizens asking for impossible conditions. Is it a coincidence that peaceful demonstrations have recently been used as a tactic to draw attention to these important issues? When citizens work this hard, for this long, with rational requests for further information this cannot continue to be ignored.

I do appreciate the efforts of our council members and commissioners who are pushing for full information and basing their decisions on science. But what is the source of information for the other elected officials? How can they justify turning down reliable information? This is very worrisome as our health, clean air, clean water, our tourism industries, our natural resources that are irreplaceable are all on the line with the decisions being made.



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