SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — In just a few days, Sioux Falls voters will decide on an ordinance that aims to prevent new slaughterhouses from being built within city limits.
Three Sioux Falls City Council members are voting “no” on the ordinance and saying they want to “get the facts straight.”
Curt Soehl, Alex Jensen and Marshall Selberg say they are against the ordinance and in support of the new Wholestone Farms pork plant. They say there is a lot of confusion from residents, so they want people to hear their take.
The three city council members speaking out comes on the same day the new Wholestone Farms Butcher Shop is hosting an appreciation event for its contractors and first customers.
The group “Smart Growth Sioux Falls” collected over 10,000 signatures by early July to get the ordinance on the ballot. They are against the new slaughterhouse saying it would increase odor, limit water supply, pollute the river and increase traffic.
The three councilors do not agree.
“This is right next to the city wastewater treatment plant. 200,000 people in Sioux Falls flush the toilet everyday and it goes right out there, so this thing is not going to stink. I personally have been to the most recently built up-to-date pork processing plant in the country. It does not stink outside of the walls of the plant,” Soehl said.
They say many of the arguments against the new pork plant are based off the Smithfield plant downtown.
“We’re just setting the record straight. You know, water supply is not an issue. Water quantity is not an issue. The stink is not an issue. A lot of the opposition to the plant says all those things, but they’re not factual statements. They’re basing their information off of a 108-year-old plant. This is not that,” Jensen says.
They say a “yes” vote is not what Sioux Falls is all about.
“Yes does mean less in the fact of about 1,000 less jobs, $500 million less in economic and construction, millions lost in tax revenue, millions lost in the agricultural industry, which is the backbone of our economy,” Selberg said.
According to Wholestone, 70 of 200 family farms that work alongside the plant are within a 50-mile radius of Sioux Falls.
“I would be shocked if Sioux Falls turns their back on agriculture. This city was built on agriculture. Agriculture is the number one industry in the state of South Dakota,” Soehl said.
“By voting yes, we are ultimately saying no to business. We are saying no to economic development. We are saying if you come here and you play by all the rules, at the 11th hour, we can take that away from you,” Jensen said.
KELOLAND News has covered Smart Growth Sioux Falls’ side in the past in multiple stories:
We did reach out to them Thursday for an interview but they declined and left a statement saying:
“Sioux Falls voters don’t need the political elite to tell them what to think on this issue. And we certainly can’t trust Wholestone when their parent company is chaired by a convicted felon, and there are zero local laws in place to limit odor. It’s time to let the people decide what kind of future we want for Sioux Falls.”
-Robert Peterson, Smart Growth Sioux Falls