From: Jane Cowgill
Citizens of Winona should not take the the request by C.D. Corp to increase the number of barges at its shipping facility at the cityís commercial port lightly. On July 16, at 5 p.m., the Board of Adjustment will consider the request to add 60 more barges per year to what the business is already allowed. When you consider that it takes 60 truck loads of sand to fill one barge, you can imagine the potential damage this increase could lead to ó more trucks tearing up roads and spilling crystalline silica sand, more air pollution, more noise in the city, and so on.
The city has catered to the requests of C.D. Corp for too long at the expense of everyone else in town. Originally, the operation and its first request to ship sand were ďgrandfathered inĒ and unaffected by the city moratorium, a move which has never been adequately explained. C.D. Corpís original CUP was granted for 24 barges per year, but subsequently it was granted a doubling of that to 48 per year. Now it has requested 60 additional barges.
Dan Nisbit, owner of C.D. Corp, claims he wants the increase only to make up for monthly limits and for the unpredictability of the weather which this year has held up shipping. This is pretty much what he claimed when he asked for the original increase to 48 barges. So why does he need another increase?
There are many more questions regarding this request. For such a substantial increase, should not an environmental assessment be made and should not the company be required to install fence line monitors to make sure the air remains breathable? Why is C.D. Corp still shipping from the old part of the port rather than the new, safer underground facility? Is there a conflict of interest for the city, which gets a cut of the profits from shipping?
As for C.D. Corpís other plan to ship dry sand from a covered facility, that certainly would require environmental assessment, a new CUP request, and public input before it could go forward.
Letís not allow another rubber stamp decision for this companyís requests. We need the city to step up and consider the needs of all its citizens, not just of those in the business community.