He says he's "had enough" after apparently facing pressure over his concerns about long-term viability of proposed Epitome Energy soybean crush facility. LaPlante not allowed to speak at ensuing Ways and Means Committee, on 5-2 council vote, until city attorney weighs in.
Citing "rumblings" he's heard that he should resign if he's not "on board" with the proposed Epitome Energy project, Crookston Mayor Guy Martin resigned Monday evening as mayor and walked out of the council chambers. Before resigning, he cited in a statement to start the council meeting concerns shared by him and those in the biofuels industry about changes in national policy and and long-term sustainability of the biofuels industry.
"I've had enough," Martin said after thanking some but not all council members and saying they were wonderful to work with. As he walked out, he added, "Have fun."
Vice Mayor and Ward 5 Council Member Dale Stainbrook stepped in and is running the council meeting.
A continued discussion led by Brian LaPlante, who two weeks ago cited concerns about Epitome's long-term sustainability in a struggling biofuels industry, was on the Ways and Means Committee agenda, which follows the council meeting. It appears that at least a dozen farmers are in attendance in the council chambers.
After Martin walked about, LaPlante addressed the chambers and said he's never been more disappointed in the City of Crookston than he is now. He said a legitimate business plan and a public, open discussion on real threats to Epitome Energy's long-term success should have taken place previously, and should take place now. But, instead, LaPlante said, Martin felt pressured and compelled to resign because he had concerns about the project.
More to come...
An update: Brian LaPlante was going to continue tonight his presentation started two weeks ago about threats to the long-term sustainability of Epitome Energy in Crookston and biofuels in general at the Ways and Means Committee meeting. Two weeks ago, when LaPlante first spoke, Mayor Martin said he would be added to tonight's agenda. But council member Jake Fee, with some comments by council member Bobby Baird, contended that LaPlante should talk to CHEDA and not the council. After a somewhat heated back-and-forth between Fee and LaPlante, Vice Mayor Dale Stainbrook intervened and said repeatedly that he believed open meeting laws permitted LaPlante to speak at the meeting. But Fee and Baird said they never approved him speaking tonight, and Fee made a motion to table LaPlante's talk until City Attorney Corky Reynolds could weigh in on whether or not LaPlante should speak on the future of the biofuels industry to the council. (Reynolds was not in attendance at that time, but was at the council meeting.) Baird seconded the motion. The vote was 5-2 in favor of tabling, with Fee, Baird, Steve Erickson, Tom Vedbraaten and Don Cavalier voting in favor, and council members Stainbrook and Clayton Briggs voting against. At that point, LaPlante left the meeting, but not before Stainbrook offered an apology.