Letter -- Proposed plant may not bring great economic growth
To the editor:
A coal gasification plant near South Heart may not bring great economic growth to Stark County as stated in the Feb. 1 letter to the editor.
One very important issue to keep in mind is Great Northern Power Development is only here to develop their coal interest. They have never built any coal power plant or gasification plant. The South Heart plant would be their first.
The state of North Dakota seems to think they will benefit, but my question is will Stark County benefit?
Population has declined more rapidly in the coal counties of McLean, Mercer and Oliver than in Stark County. According to the North Dakota census, these three coal counties declined in population by 11 percent to 13 percent between 1990 and 200, while Stark County declined by only .86 percent.
Why is the population declining so much faster in the coal counties if this is to be so economically great? How would a population decline of 13 percent affect South Heart and Stark County? We need people and children to keep our businesses and schools open.
We hear about jobs the coal plant will bring If this is similar to coal plants around Beulah, many of the workers would not live in Stark County. A reporter from Bismarck said up to 60 percent of the workers at the Beulah plants travel from a two-county radius.
Another concern is county taxes. How many years of tax credits will GNPD ask for? Even new homeowners in Dickinson get a two-year tax credit. What would a $1.4 billion plant want?
According to Great Plains Synfuels in Beulah, their coal gasification plant has received $755 million in tax credits. The plant was built in the early 1980s and the gasification plant still owes $330.
The future of Stark County depends on the Zoning Board and commissioners to think very seriously about what GNPD is proposing. Our forefathers gave great thought in the direction of our country. Now our commissioners need to give great thought in the direction of our county.