October 24 at 5:49 pm
A long time resident of Pend Oreille County prepared a statement she made to the Commissioners. Each was given a copy for their evening reading. She ended the allotted time by asking them some questions. The time frame was too short for answers.
“I would love to ask you questions on”:
The rather suspicious sale of County Land to PUD and then PUD to HiTest.
County Commissioners role in under the radar talks with PUD and HiTest;
Rumors of elected officials conflict of interest with regards to conversations with three land developers;
What is the $300,000 grant monies being used for, plus and additional $250,000;
Where did Commissioner Manus get the average, hourly wage equated to $70,000 a year salary he reported on last night’s KXLY interview. Give us a break on that one.
So many more questions, but I am out of time.
So much to say and so little time to say it.
I hate this, I hate everything about it. I hate having to fight for non-toxic air to breathe, non-toxic water to drink, and non-toxic soil to plant my garden in.
This all could have been prevented had the County Commissioners thought outside the box when it comes to creating jobs and a safe, clean and healthy environment.
If it is jobs that are needed in Pend Oreille County – there is more than enough work to last a lifetime had those in charge been thinking outside the box.
There was a time the Kalispel Tribe had somewhat of a gloomy future – take a look at them now. Take a look at what “economic thinking looks like” – not just the casino – but what they are doing with the revenue to make their home a better place for their people.
Cleaning up and restoring their lands, building a fish hatchery, undertaking projects that will not destroy the land, but in fact build it up, plus providing employment opportunities.
So, instead of assembling a “think tank” of creative and innovative people together to work on the issue of job creation, our state representative, the Commissioners and PUD jumped on the HiTest bandwagon and let HiTest do the thinking for the people of this area. You literally sold us out to the “toxic devil.” I am not sure what the purpose of your Pend Oreille Economic Council is, but it is not doing its job.
Smeltering plants are 19th-century monstrosities with upgrades, even though it manufacturers 21st century products.
WHAT WERE YOU THINKING IN SUPPORTING A COAL FIRE-SILICON SMELTERING OPERATION THAT WILL POLLUTE THIS PRISTINE AREA; AND WILL COMPROMISE THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF ITS RESIDENTS? WERE YOU ONLY THINKING OF JOBS? 150 JOBS? MONEY FOR INFRASTRUCTURE? LINING YOUR OWN POCKETS? A FEATHER IN YOUR CAP?
WHAT IN THE WORLD WERE YOU THINKING?
You know what I feel like right now – that the residents of this beautiful area are being bullied, yes bullied by HiTest, and the very officials who were elected to represent us.
Did you truly think that the people of this area would not protest this coal-fired-silicon smeltering operation that you and PUD are attempting to force on us? Why didn’t you hold public meetings and get input from those who will be most affected? Why?
I had a good conversation with a Commissioner from this board a few days ago. A comment was made that still resonates in my ear. The comment was “we can’t stop anyone from buying property in this area.” Okay, that made me think.
Okay, yes I understand that –but here is the irony in that statement – why did you sweeten and seal the deal by selling county property to PUD who in turned sold it to HiTest, so they could have egress into the property. Are we looking at a bit of collusion – confict of interest? Or were you truly looking out for the welfare of the residents? You were not looking out for the people who pay your salary. You were razzled and dazzled by HiTest and its salesmanship to support this toxic, chemical smelter without giving one thought to the people of this region.
Why didn’t you? Why was Hi-Test the only entity you listened to in this life-altering smelter plant.
Commissioners you need to do a 180 on this project and stop it!
Will the actions of the Commissioners create liabilities that will bankrupt the county?
Are the Commissioners committing criminal acts?
Can the county afford legal expenses defending against litigations?
Can the county afford to loose any litigations?
Will the Commissioners take responsibility for the negative impact resulting from allowing a smelter built in our community?
(Health, Financial, Emotional, Our Homes, Quality of Life, Life itself)
Who benefits from this smelter?
Is it worth it?
Are there better ways to create better jobs?
I’ve heard the track record for this company is horrible is that true?
They say they chose this area because it is cheap. Will they choose to operate based on cheap in the future?
Will Real estate prices fall and what affect will this have for local business? The real question we should be concerned about is Who wants to live near or operate a business where silicon smelting is in operation.
Will the character of the town change? Yes! because of the dust, noise, pollution, and traffic, this gigantic monstrosity will create.
The location is only ¾ of a mile above the town by air. A giant smokestack will loom in the sky, notifying everyone passing through here that Newport is now focused on heavy industrial development.
What is our town known for?
Recreation, tourism, small-town values. This atmosphere will be destroyed.
Nobody will want to come to a town with belching smokestacks, foul stench in the air and
pollution being dumped into the local environment.
There is considerable risk of acid rain, dust exposure, and unacceptable emission levels
from the smelting plant that will impact the entire surrounding region.
That risk cannot be eliminated. The very presence of a smelting operation creates the risk.
The towns of Old Town, Priest River, Laclede, and even Sandpoint can experience emissions and dust. Blanchard and Spirit Lake are also within the wind patterns.
On the Washington side, every town north is at risk (Usk, Cusick, Metaline Falls, Ione) and
the entire Pend Oreille river corridor, along with Diamond Lake and Elk.
Dispersal distances can range up to hundreds of miles or even further depending upon the weather.
Does Newport have inversions? The Newport area is well known for inversions which dramatically decrease the air quality during winter. This also now happens in summer as recent fires and heavy smoke will attest to. The smelting plant promises to increase the decline in air quality 24/7, making year-round air quality standards worse – not better.
The proposed start-up is 1 smoke stack emitting toxins from 2 furnaces. HiTest does have plant expansion intentions for our community which include the addition of 1 smoke stack and 2 more furnaces.