Governor Jim Douglas on OMYA

Vermont Public Radio
January 21, 2003
Governor Jim Douglas, guest on the call-in show

Host: ...Michael who's calling from Tinmouth. Michael, welcome to the program.

Michael: Hello, thank you for taking my call. Well Governor I have to congratulate you on your selection. I live in Tinmouth here and we're a pretty Republican town and I help count the votes on election night and you carried this town very handsomely. Early in our conversation you were discussing economic development versus the environment and how they should both have equal weight in the debate. Down here in Tinmouth we're a little concerned about the human environment and as a selectman from here in Tinmouth I think I can confidently say that we're dead set against Omya's proposal to open a strip mine at Danby Four Corners. If they do, Tinmouth would essentially become an industrial conduit for their material with no recourse to us at all. And after two and a half years of this controversy hanging over our heads we're convinced that it will cost us. Omya isn't, we're not talking Vermont Teddy Bears or Ben and Jerry's. We're talking about Omya whose impact in the immediate area where they operate is well documented in Vermont and around the world, we, all we have to protect us here in Tinmouth is Act 250 and we'd like to preserve that and we don't want it weakened. Now Governor Dean wouldn't answer our concerns about this project down here and dodged the question for the last two and a half years. We would just like to know where you stand exactly on the prospect of them opening this mine in Danby Four Corners, just a yes or no would do it.

Governor Jim Douglas: Well Michael I appreciate your call and I've talked with other people from your area who share your concern and at the risk of perpetuating the inconclusive response of my predecessor, I don't know that I have a yes or no answer to offer. There is a process as you've indicated through Act 250 to adjudicate this question as to whether there's a, whether it's appropriate to open that mine or not and I don't want to involve myself in a quasi-judicial proceeding or even a judicial one that might ensue. Obviously these are dual objectives that need to be reconciled and your situation is a good example. We want to maintain the natural beauty of our state and we also want to maintain opportunities for Vermonters to be employed and Omya is a large employer in Vermont. Most Vermont companies are quite small and in relative terms that's a very large employer that provides a lot of income to people who work for it and also other companies that provide services to it so this is the kind of discussion that we need to have, that there's a forum for having and I guess rather than respond to a question about a specific case that may be before a regulatory body I'll join my predecessor in declining to respond.

Host: Michael, thanks for your phone call.