Protesters lined the street in front of Iron Horse Broadcasting in Logansport on Wednesday morning to voice their opinions on the proposed WSP plant in Cass County, Staff photo by Tony Walters
Protesters lined the street in front of Iron Horse Broadcasting in Logansport on Wednesday morning to voice their opinions on the proposed WSP plant in Cass County, Staff photo by Tony Walters
Two sides of the clash over a proposed zinc and iron reclamation plant near Clymers were making their voices heard Wednesday morning.

On WSAL radio’s “Talk of the Town,” Cass County Commissioners Ralph Anderson and Jim Sailors talked about the county’s support of the Waelz Sustainable Products Incorporated (WSP) project, planned for the Agribusiness Park near the intersection of County Roads 300 South and 375 West.

Outside the radio station, protestors for the Facebook-based group Cass County Citizen Coalition held their second public protest against the plant.

There were more than 60 protestors present, with some clustered at the intersection of Market and Second Streets and others at the corner of Market and Third Streets.

An SUV played the commissioners’ radio interview for the protesters.

Dave Price, one of the protesters, said he is pro-business and owns a small business, Priceless Banners and Apparel.

“I’m all in favor of business, but I don’t want a business that’ll hurt us,” he said.

He feels the county hasn’t handled the process well, being secretive until the March 2 commissioner’s meeting when it first became public and then shutting people out for comment due to COVID-19 concerns.

“We are not happy about how they are handling this,” he said. “It’s been an unfair process.”

WSAL, which dual broadcasts at 1230 AM and at 94.9 FM, had WSP representatives on Tuesday and plans to have representatives from the Cass County Citizen Coalition on Thursday at 9 a.m., giving multiple views of the situations.

Sailors said the state first got the call about the project and that Indiana was not only in competition with other states but that other places in Indiana were considered, specifically naming Rushville.

When WSP tried to get the plant started in Muncie, they pulled the plug in 2019 because two of its city council members were arrested by the FBI, Sailors said.

According to the frequently asked questions document on WSP’s website, wspcasscounty.com, “a campaign of misinformation tainted the process and ultimately made it impossible to move forward with the project.”

Sailors said that no one was keeping any secrets about the WSP proposal.

However, the county was under a non-disclosure agreement while it talked with WSP, a common practice that keeps competitors and land speculators from increasing costs before an agreement or purchase is made.

”Every business does it,” Sailors said. “You have rules to go by and state statutes to go by.”

He also said that WSP bought property around the Agribusiness Park for $2 million, not $23 million, as has been put around. The 57 acres that Cass County will give to WSP to build the facility cost the county $1 million when officials approved the purchase for a different company, Project Outdoors, which has not come to Cass, Sailors said.

The two commissioners said that the county can expect a $6.6 million return on it, not counting income tax from employees and other money coming in.

Anderson said that county officials never made a claim that there’d be no emissions from the WSP plant.

“Who would believe that from any industry,” he said.

He said it would be less pollution than there was from Logansport Municipal Utilities burning coals years ago. That plant had to be closed because it couldn’t be brought up to the current standards WSP has to meet, he said.

No amount of lead is safe, Anderson agreed. But WSP would meet regulations.

“The mercury and lead is far below what’s considered safe,” he said.

He said people working on old homes from before 1880 have more exposure to lead, and the two cases he knows about in Cass were from people doing renovations.

WSP jobs would average about $50,000 a year, not counting overtime, Sailors said. The WSP Cass County website states that jobs would run from the mid-$20,000s to $150,000 a year.

Anderson said WSP would bring in other jobs, including 130 construction jobs, and it’s a multiplier, bringing in other jobs and affecting the economy.

“If you continue to lose your industry, there’s a multiplier there, too,” he said.

He labeled the opposition as one “vocal segment” of the community that didn’t want the meat packing plant to reopen or didn’t want the Andersons ethanol plant, wind farms or solar farms.

“They want high paying jobs but they don’t want change,” Anderson said.

Both men said despite being told they don’t care about the county because they’re not going to remain in office much longer, they and their families plan to live here.

Anderson said it comes down to #welcometocasscounty or #notinmycounty.
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