Not Buying It
I did not want to delay my commenting on the recently released prospectus - County Development's "IEC Area Management Plan," given the arbitrary April deadline set for supposed 'community engagement.'
Although touted by County Development's Bill Schalliol as a "living document," I fear this one is dead on arrival for a number of reasons, which is why we must strongly urge our county representatives to rein in any further IEC-related expenditures until such time as actual engagement with the townspeople most affected takes place.
Mr. Schalliol speaks as if his speculative proposals for truck depots and train stations and food processing plants and the like have already been approved...but New Carlisle isn't buying it!
Let the real engagement begin...contact your county officials (firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com) Show up...might I suggest a trip down to the March County Council Meeting to clear the fog?
It is unthinkable that the IEC is planning an industrial park bigger than Michigan City between New Carlisle and South Bend. This plan to turn beautiful, rich farmland into an industrial wasteland is unconscionable, environmentally irresponsible, and shortsighted. The toll it will take on our wildlife, air, and water is huge.
Each summer there are air quality alerts in our area indicating pollution levels and advising vulnerable groups to take precautions. The number of alerts, as well as the heat index, can only increase when woods and farmland are turned into industrial buildings, parking lots, concrete, and asphalt. During the growing season a single acre of corn not only removes about 8 tons of carbon dioxide from the air but produces enough oxygen for 131 people for a year. It makes sense to have more woods, more vegetation, not less, and certainly not an industrial park that will inherently deplete oxygen production and increase pollution.
A fear among those whose land stands in the way is the use of eminent domain. If eminent domain is invoked, some people stand to lose farms that have been in their families for generations. Any compensation they will receive cannot possibly cover the loss of income, way of life, and beautiful land for future generations. At the council meeting in October, some reasonable and erudite people gave viable alternatives to an industrial park and presented solutions and strategies to bring in the necessary revenue without destroying the land.
If the IEC succeeds in its plans, it will destroy many farmers’ livelihoods and erase nearly 35 square miles of a farming community. It will destroy the beautiful land between New Carlisle and South Bend, and that land, once destroyed, can never be restored. It is a loss for all of us, not just the farmers whose land stands in the way. As decent people we have a duty, an obligation, to pass the earth along to the next generation in as good or better shape than we received it. We cannot possibly do that if the IEC has its way. If anyone wants to post “NO IEC” signs, Zahl’s Elevator in New Carlisle carries them.