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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Environment - "Ag-park decision might take time"

"Ag-park decision might take time" is the headline to this Seth Slabaugh story in today's Muncie Star-Press. Some quotes:

MUNCIE - The chairman of the city-county planning commission believes the group won't be ready at its meeting tonight to act on the proposed Shideler agricultural bio-enterprise park.

"My thought process is, we need more time," said Tom Jarvis, chairman of the commission. "I'd like to see a committee formed. There's a lot of misinformation out there, and it would be in the best interest of everyone to have the facts before a decision is made for or against."

Jarvis expects the city hall auditorium to be crowded when the commission meets at 6:30 p.m. to consider a petition to rezone 806 acres surrounding the community of Shideler to create the ag park. There are three other re-zoning cases on the agenda before the ag park will be discussed.

One of the petitioners, farmer Paul Russell, is comparing the nation's ethanol and soy biodiesel boom to the 19th century Gas Boom in East Central Indiana. * * *

"Our new natural (renewable) energy commodity could be corn and soybeans, grown in abundance each year," Russell said in a letter to the planning commission. "We can't afford to turn away the next potential Ball family."

Opponents say the ag park would attract concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and ethanol and soy biodiesel production facilities that would transform the area within a five-mile radius of Shideler into an uninhabitable "dead zone." They say the ag park could be life-threatening to students attending the nearby Delta middle and high schools.

One misconception, Jarvis said, is that the ag park will allow CAFOs. CAFOs already are permitted in farm zones. CAFOs could be built on the site of the ag park regardless of the outcome of the re-zoning. The re-zoning petitioners say they have no intention of building CAFOs.

Use the search box for other Shideler ag-park entries. Richmond attorney E. Thomas Kemp's Kemplog is also a good source of CAFO, ag-park and related stories, as is North Judson attorney Marty Lucas' BigEastern.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 1, 2005 09:04 AM
Posted to Environment | Indiana economic development