What affects neighbors affects us

Sunday, September 2, 2001

PATTON, Mo. --Why does Cape Girardeau County only seem to consider projects for economic growth that are detrimental to the environment and private-property owners? The proposed Kinder Morgan Power Co. power plant would have a negative environmental impact on all, including farmers and local residents, and a depressing financial impact on county property values near the plant.

The Kinder Morgan proposal for Crump, Mo., harkens back to the situation a few years ago when the Cape Girardeau County Commission decided that what our area needed for prosperity was a lake. This proposal was to be financed with bonds and a county sales tax increase. The proposed lake was to bring as much money and tourism into the area as to the Branson area, even though we do not have the theaters or Silver Dollar City. The proposed lake would not have been near the same scale as the lake at Branson. The environment in the vicinity of the streams would have been destroyed along with communities, homes, county roads, churches and cemeteries. Real estate owners' rights were threatened by eminent domain while the county considered a very low compensation for the property slated to be confiscated.

The feasibility study for the lake, done by a firm in Texas, cost the county over $100,000. The county commissioners vehemently defended this proposal as being sound and in the best interest of everyone in both counties. At one of the final meetings with farmers and other property owners, the county commission had an armed deputy in attendance to intimidate property owners. This is a perfect example of the skewed thinking the commission has used in the past when attempting to pursue economic development that is detrimental to the environment and to the issue of property rights in the county. Citizens should be cautious when deciding whose interests are being put forward during this decision-making process.

The power plant proposal at Crump would be disadvantageous to the county from the standpoint of the environment and private-property ownership. Private property will be devalued, with the owners of the real estate having little or no say in the matter.

The Kinder Morgan plant would have a negative effect on the environment. The quality of life of those who reside downwind of the plant would be diminished. There would be unsightly transmission lines that pose health hazards from the power lines themselves and from the chemicals that would be sprayed from planes to kill vegetation beneath the lines. Farmland and citizens would suffer from the environmental impact the Kinder Morgan plant would make in the area. Rural wells would dry up as the water table is lowered.

A proposal such as this involves many people in our area while benefiting few. The Crump area that includes Lake Girardeau is a scenic region of wooded hills and farms. Why would the county commission want this magnitude of possible environmental disasters built in the lovely scenic hills of Cape Girardeau County when its benefits would go outside our region? Someone in this area is going to make a profit from this proposal. Otherwise there is no motivation to build the plant. Right now the only county residents who are benefiting from the proposed power plant are the commissioners who are being given an all-expenses-paid fact-finding vacation in Colorado. How objective do you think the county commission will be concerning the pros and cons of the plant after they have toured and been wined and dined by Kinder Morgan, a profit-driven business with no concern for the environment or property owners here in Cape Girardeau County?

We all reside in this area and should be concerned about the environment, living conditions and farms of those residents, our neighbors, who reside a few miles from us. What affects them adversely will eventually affect us all.

Linda Zimmer is an opponent of the proposed Kinder Morgan Power Co. plant in Cape Girardeau County.

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