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The Battle Over Heartland


Fri, May 7th, 2004
Posted in Features

Preston: A town dividedBy John TorgrimsonWhen you mention Preston to anyone in Minnesota nowadays they say, “Oh, isn’t that where that tire plant is being built?”The battle over whether the Heartland tire-burning plant should be built here has put Preston on the map in ways most people never expected. Heartland Energy & Recycling, LLC plans to burn an estimated 10 million tires per year, converting the energy into electricity that would be sold on the grid. The Battle over Heartland has divided the town along political lines: those that believe it would do irreparable harm to the environment, versus those who believe it would mean economic development and jobs. Not surprisingly, the battle over this issue has landed in the courts. In February 2004, Judge Joseph Wieners ruled that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency needed to reconsider its finding of facts on whether to require an intensive environmental study of the effects of the proposed plant. Also in court are the city of Preston and Heartland over the city’s denial of a building permit to Robert and Elaine Maust, the Heartland developers. A date has been set in federal court to hear this case next year. Much of the legal opposition to Heartland has come from Southeastern Minnesotans for Environmental Protection (SEMEP), a local group who believe that an EIS should be conducted on Heartland. On Saturday, May 1, approximately 250 people, most of them from outside of Preston, marched through town to protest the proposed plant. Citizens Against Pollution believe that Heartland is not just a Preston issue, but a regional one that effects their well-being. They are concerned about the environmental, economic and health consequences of the plant.The first mention of Heartland in the Fillmore County Journal archives occurs in the January 28, 2002 issue under the headline: Council approves variance for Heartland smokestack. The article details the January 21, 2002 Preston City Council’s approval of a height variance for the Heartland smokestack which, if built, is expected to be 210 feet high.The variance approval went forward beneath the public radar until public hearings were held on Heartland later in the year, a time when many people became publicly opposed to the project. Since July 2002, the Journal has received 65 letters to the editor r .....
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Preston City Council Report: Attorney Sandy Keith to mediate Heartland v. Preston

Fri, May 7th, 2004
Posted in Features

Initially a closed door meeting of the Preston City Council had been requested by council member Steve Knoepke for the purpose of approving a mediator. Apparently, there was some miscommunication since not everyone appeared for the 5:30 p.m. meeting. ..... 
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Lanesboro City Council Report: Update on Church Hill development

Fri, May 7th, 2004
Posted in Features

Northcountry developers Jeff Allman and Warren Kramer updated the Lanesboro City Council on development plans for Church Hill Properties at the regular council meeting held May 3rd. The new plans included an increase from sixteen to twenty-one units ..... 
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Commissioners’ Report: Board continues discussion on additional Zoning staff

Fri, May 7th, 2004
Posted in Features

As the demand for zoning permits continues to increase in the county, and the need for visiting each site to determine that county requirements are being met, has forced the county board to review options that would provide additional zoning office h ..... 
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Preston comes together to assist at accident

Fri, May 7th, 2004
Posted in Features

Today (Thursday, May 6) I had the unfortunate experience of being one of the first on the scene of a horrible accident on Hwy 52 by Citgo in Preston. After doing what little I could to help, I stood nearby praying Godspeed for the individuals involve ..... 
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Behind the scenes at the Minnesota Book Awards

Fri, Apr 30th, 2004
Posted in Features

ST. PAUL - Minnesota has a rich literary heritage. We have our share of big names, like F.Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Robert Bly, and Tim O’Brien. But the big names only represent the surface of all the books written, and being written, in Minn ..... 
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County asks judge for reconsideration in zoning case

Fri, Apr 30th, 2004
Posted in Features

PRESTON - Fillmore County Attorney Brett Corson has written a letter to Judge Robert Benson asking the court to allow the county to file a motion to reconsider the judge’s decision in the Slabaugh case.

Motions to reconsider ar ..... 
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Zumbro Valley Medical Society calls for EIS on Heartland

Fri, Apr 30th, 2004
Posted in Features

ROCHESTER - The Zumbro Valley Medical Society, which represents the counties of Fillmore, Olmsted, Dodge and Houston, is the latest organization to call on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to conduct an environmental impact statement (EI ..... 
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Commentary

Fri, Apr 30th, 2004
Posted in Features

I finally sorted one of my many junk drawers out last month. Some of what was in the drawer – old markers, a few pens that didn’t work, and a huge eraser I’ll never use – was just that: junk. Atop the pile, though, lay wads of paper and plastic label ..... 
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