Peoria County Board members were informed today that PDC has filed an appeal stating that they did not receive a fair trial. The county has issued a statement that “Peoria County is confident that the vote no decision will be upheld.”
On 5/10, I sent a 250 word letter, now lengthened on this blog to get in all the facts, to the editors of the Journal Star that reads as follows:
“Vote No, you’re constituents told you so, said the opposition.” Look at both sides, uphold your oath of office, read, listen and act as jurists, the Peoria States Attorney told us. As one of 7 County Board Members appointed by the County Board Chairman to the Regional Pollution Control Site Hearing Subcommittee, I sat thru approximately 50 hours of testimony along with staff, engineers and attorney. At the end of the testimony and cross-examinations, we were to do the following: #1 – The “Rules of Order” submitted to the siting committee reads “After the close of public comment period following the hearing, the Committee shall meet to discuss and consider the record, and develop recommended findings of fact and to develop a recommendation to forward to the county board.” Our directions from our outside attorney reads “The role of the subcommittee was to hold the required public hearing, and then reconvenes to hear staff reports. At the end findings of fact recommendations would be made as well as general application recommendations. This would be forwarded to the entire County Board. #2 – The duty of all of the board members as explained by our attorney was to formulate decisions based solely upon that found in the public record. #3 – The Application from PDC and all the proceedings were to be posted on the our counties website www.peoriacounty.org
#1 – The subcommittee did not meet at the close of public comment as recommended and the subcommittee did not meet with staff nor did the subcommittee have an opportunity to make recommendations to the entire board.
#2 – Properly forewarned by the States Attorney and outside counsel to not make our decision on emotion but on facts, 4 of the 7 members of the subcommittee, including myself, voted to accept the application with 30 special criteria added by staff and accepted by PDC. Part of the “special criteria” were the adding of a trust fund, enclosing the water from the rinse that turns the toxic material received by PDC into hazardous waste as permitted by the Illinois Environmental Protection Association; enclosing this rinse water in tanks to be treated and released to the Greater Peoria Sanitary District as been done for 27 years, three new monitoring wells and the right for the county to come out and do our own testing.
#3 – The majority of the no voters do not have a computer at home as noted by their emails being sent to the county. Yet the typed out proceedings or hard copy, 2018 pages, were not made available to the full board until one week after the first vote. Approximately 500 to 700 letters supporting the PDC Application were filed in a storage box in the office of the County Clerk and according to the keeper of these documents; I was the only board member who came in to review these files containing both pro and con letters. In reviewing the opposing files, I noted that a coordinated effort appeared to have been made by the Sierra Club and The Families Opposed to Toxic Waste as these documents of opposition, were duplicate copies I received thru the mail or on my emails, board members who appeared not have a computer were assigned email numbers addressed to the Peoria County Clerk. Among these emails were letters of support from the President of Keystone, unseen by the board member representing Keystone, from ranking environmental officers of Caterpillar, Ameren/Cilco and hundreds of letters from environmentally concerned leaders of the business community. In this hard copy file were letters of support from the Civic Federation, the Chamber of Commerce, Heartland Partnership and the Economic Development Council.
Two no voters on the County Board are members of the Sierra Club who strongly opposed the expansion application; Allen Mayer, who was characterized by the JS reporter as leader of the no vote faction and Jim Thomas whose wife JoAnn told me does not have a computer at home but probably read the files on the computer at ICC where he teaches.
One board member, Eldon Polhemus, did not attend any of the hearings and he was absent on the first vote yet told the journal Star reporter that had he been there, he probably would have voted no. On May 12, Mr. Polhemus stated before the entire board that he voted no at the 2nd meeting based on the presentations made by Mr. Edwards. His comments are in the minutes of May 12 County Board meeting. (Mr. Tom Edwards appeared before the full County Board approximately 24 times protesting the presence and expansion of PDC.)
Who will prevail on this appeal remains too be seen. I remind the reader that the no voter, the yes voters and PDC are all my constituents. I make effort as a member of the Peoria County Board to be fair to all when I vote. But there are some facts presented on this blog and the approximately dozen other blogs I published on the subject of the PDC Application that need to be known to the entire community.