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Press Releases

Dec 10th meeting. Stop the Ethanol Plant in San Pierre Press release
sent to the Post Tribune


Mr Jackson,

Thank you for the article in the Post on behalf of myself and KV S.T.E.P

KV.S.T.E.P had their 3rd meeting at the Christian Church in San Pierre on Monday Dec. 10th.
L.E.A.F (legal enviornmental aid Foundation) of Valparaiso filed a petition in the Starke County Circuit Court Versus the Starke County Board of Zoning Appeals on Dec 6,2007 on behalf of the adjoining land owners and the S.T.E.P petitioners. We will now await the court date.

A website has been put on the net and information will be posted there.
http://kvstep.tripod.com

all inquiries can be sent to:
kvSTEP@sugardog.com

A fund raiser was considered and the committees were heard. a new flier was announced and the meeting was adjourned.
The media is welcome to come to our next meeting on Dec. 17th at the Christian Church 308 Anne Street at 6:30 P.M.

Cindy N (media committee)



Press Release
From: KVSTEP
kvSTEP@sugardog.com


SAN PIERRE (12/6/07) - A petition filed with the Starke County District Court challenges
the Starke County Board of Zoning Appeal's decision to grant a conditional use permit to allow
"agricultural processing" on land zoned for "agriculture." The permit clears the way for
Bio-Energy Development, LLC to build a 27 million gallon waste ethanol refinery on the northeast
40-acre corner of 500 S and U.S. 421 in San Pierre.

The BZA's decision was made despite significant opposition by more than 300 San Pierre
residents who voiced their concerns at the November 15th public hearing before the BZA.
During the hearing, numerous members of the group, Kankakee Valley Stop the Ethanol Plant (KV-STEP), spoke out
and provided the BZA with significant evidence of environmental impacts commonly associated with ethanol production including:
  • increased smog and deterioration of air quality from fine particle and hazardous air pollution;
  • groundwater contamination and depletion (the proposed refinery is expected to use 180 gallons of water per minute);
  • inability of the local fire department to handle hazardous chemical spills or ethanol-related fires;
  • increased noise, odors and traffic (50 tanker-trucks per day estimated);
  • and the eye-sore of having a 40-acre industrial complex in their small, quiet, rural town.


"I'm unwilling to give up the obvious quality of life we have here in San Pierre just so some developers can get rich,"
said A KVSTEP member, who lives and farms near the proposed site.
"Let's quit worrying about making a dollar and focus on the health of our children."

Similarly, many other members, who organized the 300-member group, explained that people
live in the area because of its beautiful natural resources and small town, country setting.
"We feel very strongly about this area, and we don't want to see it ruined."

KV-STEP hired attorney Kim Ferraro with the Legal Environmental Aid Foundation (LEAF)
to represent the group in challenging the BZA decision. According to Ferraro,
"the BZA's grant of a conditional use for agricultural processing for construction of an ethanol refinery undermines the general purpose, spirit and intent of the zoning ordinance because an ethanol refinery constitutes heavy industry not agricultural processing, as contemplated by Starke County's zoning laws."

In addition, Ferraro claims the BZA failed to consider the impact the refinery will have on the public health, safety and welfare as required by state law and county ordinance. "Looking at the BZA record, it is difficult to understand the rationale for their decision."

KV-STEP holds regular organizational meetings in the San Pierre area. For more information about the group and their efforts,
visit http://kvstep.tripod.com/ (This Site)

Great News!!!
Press Release
From: KVSTEP & L.E.A.F (legal enviornmental aid Foundation)
kvSTEP@sugardog.com
SAN PIERRE, IN (10/7/08)

Amid rumors of financial trouble, significant community opposition, and ongoing legal proceedings,
BioEnergy Development Company, LLC, opted not to build an ethanol refinery in San Pierre.

The decision brings a sigh of relief to a group of more than 300 San Pierre residents who voiced their concerns last November at a public hearing before the Starke County Board of Zoning Appeals. During the hearing, members of the community group known as "Kankakee Valley Stop the Ethanol Plant (KV-STEP)," warned the BZA about serious environmental impacts commonly associated with ethanol production including increased smog and deterioration of air quality from fine particle and hazardous air pollution; groundwater contamination and depletion (the proposed refinery was expected to use 180 gallons of water per minute); inability of the local fire department to handle hazardous chemical spills or ethanol-related fires; increased noise, odors and traffic (50 tanker-trucks per day estimated); and the eye-sore of having a 40-acre industrial complex in their small, quiet, rural town.

Despite the group's concerns, the BZA issued a conditional use clearing the way for Bio-Energy to build the refinery and prompting residents to hire attorney Kim Ferraro with the Legal Environmental Aid Foundation (LEAF) to challenge the BZA's decision.

According to Ferraro, “granting a conditional use to build an industrial refinery on agriculturally zoned land was improper for several reasons including the BZA's failure to consider the proposed refinery's impact on the public health, safety and welfare as required by state law and county ordinance." Accordingly, Ferraro filed a lawsuit with the Starke County Circuit Court on behalf of the neighborhood group challenging the decision.

"After a year of legal wrangling," Ferraro explained, "my clients are pleased that BioEnergy has opted not to build its polluting refinery in their town. Of course, we will not dismiss the lawsuit until the BZA formally votes to annul the conditional use of the property where BioEnergy had proposed to build the plant."

Ferraro's statements were echoed by Dawn Danford, an active member of KV-STEP. "With overwhelming community support and the efforts of our attorney, we proved that we can protect our town from irresponsible growth by getting involved in the process and working together. I hope that in the future, our elected and appointed officials will listen to our concerns and consider the interests of both industry and the people before acting."

KV-STEP member Isaac Wellsand believes the decision proves that "the legal system works to protect the public interest no matter how big the opposition if regular folks like us have affordable access to lawyers." Without pro bono representation from LEAF's attorney, Wellsand fears the group may not have prevailed. "It's also comforting to know that Starke County has a watch dog group like KV-STEP," Wellsand said.

Please feel free to download the PDF file The Great News Press Release

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