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Clarifying the dam issue
The residents of Chippewa County need to receive clarification on the Granite Falls Dam issue.
Members of the Chippewa County board, Granite Falls City Council, the Yellow Medicine County board and others met on Jan. 10, Jan. 28, Feb. 25, Sept. 1, Oct. 6, Dec. 1 and Dec. 30, of 2011. These dates can be verified by the Granite Falls City Council that arranged the meetings. I cannot speak to the meetings held prior to 1-4-11 because I was not your commissioner at that time.
We were given reports and studies of the 107-year-old dam done by Excel Energy, Minnesota Deptartment of Natural Resources, Minnesota DNR Division of Waters, Barr Engineering, Environmental Assessment Worksheet and the Legislative Report done by the DNR.
These reports were discussed at length. At the Jan. 17, 2012, Chippewa County board meeting, two residents of Granite Falls spoke to the issue. The Granite Falls City Council requested an open meeting on Feb. 21, 2012, at which time board chairman Jim Dahlvang, commissioner Jeffrey Lopez and I were present to discuss the board's decision. No residents of either county were in attendance.
It has been erroneously reported that the Chippewa County board was, "unwilling to even form an exploratory committee ..." (Granite Falls-Clarkfield Advocate-Tribune, June 28, 2012) and "not to even meet with the city of Granite Falls and Yellow Medicine County to collectively discuss the options ..." (Advocate-Tribune, Aug. 9, 2012).
This is clearly not the case. The Chippewa County board did attend scheduled meetings to explore the research and documentations concerning the Granite Falls Dam. These meetings gave us the information needed to make an informed decision.
At that point, the Chippewa County board decided to not continue meeting after careful consideration of all the information given to us. This was not an easy decision, but all factors were weighed carefully for the good of all county taxpayers. Granite Falls Energy also came to the same decision not to purchase the dam "due to prohibitive cost, uncertainty of DNR requirements and an extensive number of government road blocks" and it was "significantly more expensive and just didn't make any sense." (Advocate-Tribune, June 28, 2012).
Kevin Stroup, Granite Falls Energy attorney, states, "It has become obvious that obtaining ownership and maintaining the dam is not feasible or practical." (Advocate-Tribune, June 28, 2012).
Chippewa County Commissioner, Montevideo