The following is a letter I wrote that appeared in the Grand Forks Herald on December 4, 2021. The title it was given is, “Grand Forks should rethink the Fufeng ag project”.
Last month, the Herald lauded an upcoming massive agribusiness project as “historic” because of the “large private capital investment,” but details suggest the project would make Grand Forks a massive polluter.
Natural gas use in the city will rise to double the current levels. Imagine that – the Fufeng Group plant would use as much natural gas as the rest of the city combined. All of that natural gas furthers climate change, at a time when we should be taking action in the opposite direction. In fact, the plant would be the worst polluter in the state, other than coal power plants.
Sadly, environmental concerns are only the beginning of the worries. Gov. Burgum and other leaders are happy because the project would bring in money through property taxes, but the company will also be offered a “temporary” tax break, for years or decades to come. Rather than boosting the local economy, the plant will be leeching off of it. Jobs will be created, true, but of what quality? Low-paying plant jobs would hardly improve the quality of life for most North Dakotans.
The agribusiness plant is guaranteed to damage the environment and is unlikely to make life better for residents of Grand Forks. Now is a great time to say “Stop!” and rethink all of the important details of this risky endeavor.
Written By: Douglas Perkins, Tokyo, Japan, formerly of Grand Forks