Potash project should be celebrated for its benefits

December 20, 2018

Letter to the Editor_BannerDear Editor:
Projects that will result in overwhelming benefits for Michigan should be celebrated. One such project is the Michigan Potash and Salt Company (MPSC), which is redeveloping the potash industry in Michigan and the United States in Evart, Michigan. The major investment will create an essential operation to support farmers, the economy, and the local community.

Yet despite clear facts that prove this project to be environmentally safe and economically strong, there are opposition groups trying to confuse people by putting out false information about MPSC. As an active farmer and former speaker of the Michigan House who cares deeply about the state, Osceola County and our agricultural industry, I think it’s important that my neighbors know the facts.

Michigan and the United States need potash. Our farmers depend on it to grow crops that we all eat every day, such as hay, corn and soybeans. Despite this, United States farmers pay among the highest prices for potash in the world, which is partially due to the fact that we have to import 95 percent of the potash we need.

Any claims of dwindling prices for potash prove a distinct lack of understanding for our food supply situation. US dependence on potash is only increasing as food demand continues to rise. Maintaining our food supply is a big reason the current administration listed potash as one of 35 minerals necessary for economic and national security. It’s essential that we reestablish a domestic source of potash. With access to the purest potash in the world, and a team that boasts extensive experience with extraction across the country, Michigan is the perfect place to make that happen.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environment Quality both held numerous public meetings about the project that granted everyone an opportunity to speak. Claims of a rushed or faulty process are entirely unfounded. Both regulatory agencies have also performed extensive tests and found the site to meet strict environmental protections and safety regulations. In fact, regulators perform weekly onsite visits.

Solution mining is a process that has been utilized safely for more than three decades. There is zero impact on wetlands, streams and rivers.

While groups like the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation deliberately spread misinformation, they also have vocal members – like MCWC’s Ken Ford and separate vocal advocates like Doug Miller — that have signed leases granting their personal land rights to MPSC. That means they will be getting money from MPSC, because royalties will be paid to all of the local mineral rights lessors. The fabricated concerns of these supposed water conservationists weren’t enough to stop them from happily signing for-profit deals with the same company and CEO they’re now publicly slandering. Clearly their motivations are not entirely pure.

And that’s a shame, because now more than ever, Michigan needs staunch water advocates. If these groups were what they claimed to be, they would know that potash reduces overall water use at farms. They should be cheering MPSC as a project positioned to help save immense amounts of water.

Michigan can’t allow misinformation and self-motivated groups to complicate opportunities like this. It cannot be overstated how valuable this project — which is a near billion-dollar investment that will create hundreds of jobs — is to a Rising Tide Community like Evart. And it doesn’t stop there, the benefits from MPSC will spread to people across the state and country.
The facts are clear: we need the Michigan potash project.
Rick Johnson



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