From: Joseph Mlinar
I would like to commend Mr. James Ziegeweid, County Board Supervisor of Montana, Lincoln, and Glencoe Townships, for his ongoing willingness to look critically at the documents and the process. At several recent meetings and votes of the Land Resources Committee (LRC-formerly Zoning), Mr. Ziegeweid has stood alone to comment on obvious questions and concerns brought forth by the public. He has also stood alone to vote against the tide of foregone conclusions. For example, Jim voted honestly and reasonably against his fellow committee members’ recommendation to approve the River Valley Sands application. He did so because, as he asked, “Have we gone through the Town Board’s letter point by point to address their concerns, I think not,” even though that was the purpose of asking the Town to review the application in the first place. Jim also voted against the urgent adoption of the non-metallic mining ordinance and the Policy and Procedures on the reasonable grounds that the Land Resources Department was, and continues to be, too under-staffed and inexperienced to handle the scale and scope of this new industry. He also cautioned the Zoning committee that the Board of Adjustment’s concerns and procedures had not had the full hearing and consideration they required. Mr. Ziegeweid questioned the experience and competence of the proposed mine land-owners and their newly hired legal and engineering experts. He questioned their ability to assure the public that they, and their mine, will do what they say they will. This is a reasonable and important question to require assurance for. This is especially true with, as Mr. Ziegeweid noted, an understaffed DNR, and a lack of enforcement on violations of hauling policies and storm-water containment. Mr. Ziegeweid continues to inform and alert the public and his fellow county board members of the numerous runaway circumstances surrounding the influx of mining in our neighboring Trempealeau County.
This is the kind of critical thinking in application of policy that we have the right to expect from our representatives. This is the willingness to question the momentum of the process. To not make it too easy. To uphold the reason and justice of it. And to remember that the purpose is to serve the people by answering their adamant concerns. It is NOT to serve business interests and short-range, dubious, economic development goals.