Friday, March 24, 2023

Asphalt plant poses real threat

| February 23, 2023 12:00 AM

The first time I drove through Arlee, I looked at its quiet main strip and wide-open fields and serene view of the Rattlesnake Mountains and I said, “I can see me living here.” A few months later, I got the chance to buy a house in town, and I fell in love with the place – the neighborliness, peacefulness, healthfulness, and connection to the land. I’ve often said that Arlee and the Jocko Valley are as close as one can get to a “perfect” place.

Now there’s a threat to the valley’s perfection. Riverside Contracting is proposing to build an asphalt plant right in the middle of Arlee’s ranchlands – just up the road from the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas. An asphalt plant in this location has the very real potential to pollute our air and water with toxic chemicals, drive down real estate prices, and affect the Jocko with noise and light pollution. And all this for no apparent benefit – no job creation – no economic gain.

I’m not a fool – I know we need materials for construction – but this plant site is a bad idea: there would be too many negative effects on the surrounding environment and its inhabitants. Surely, Riverside can find a more remote, less obstructive location for their plant. There’s a lot at stake for us who call this place our home.

To quote Aldo Leopold: “Obligations have no meaning without conscience, and the problem we face is the extension of the social conscience from people to land.”

David Salet


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