Guest Column: How can you let this happen in such close proximity?

Editor’s note: A meeting will be held on the proposed ethanol plant to be built at 1951 Meridian Rd. between Cunningham and Kelly roads. The proposed zoning change from Agricultural to Heavy Industrial will be heard at the Winnebago County Zoning Board meeting at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 11, at the County Administration Building, 404 Elm St., fifth floor, Room 501.

This letter was sent to Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott

Dear Doug Scott:

About a week ago, word leaked out that Winnebago County is proposing a HUGE $125 million ethanol plant at Cunningham and Meridian, which is less than 1/2 mile from the Roy Gayle baseball park as well as many schools in our area. This is the same county (Winnebago) that has banned leaf burning due to the asthma problems hundreds of people were having from it. Now, they are planning on having this pollution belching plant polluting our area and all the children with cancer-causing omissions. (Does this make any sense?) How can you allow this to happen in such close proximity to thousands of homes within 3 miles or less, plus seven schools and Roy Gayle baseball park where thousands of children play every summer? This should not be in this area!! It should be put out in the country where it is away from people and their homes and families. And you, being the head of the Illinois EPA, should be the most concerned. All that I ask is that you follow your heart and do the right thing for the citizens of this county and the State of Illinois. Would this be a plant that you would put up next to your home or a park where your children play, or a neighborhood that your parents live in? Think about it… I know deep in your heart you would never want to put your family at risk or the welfare of any of the residents of Winnebago County and Rockford city.

We expect to see a representative from the EPA at the Jan. 11 meeting where they are trying to rezone this agricultural land to heavy industrial. Send a representative there to tell us the truth and why your department is putting all of these people’s health in jeopardy…and for what? Look up all the severe problems other ethanol plants are having, and you will know why we are concerned. They emit TONS of cancerous pollutants, but the representative from the Wight Group says they don’t. Five states and scores of plants show they do!!!

We implore you to do the right thing!!!

Cliff and Sandy Steele are members and officers of the Park-Er-Woods (Neighborhood) Association.

From the Jan. 4-10, 2006, issue

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