Letter to the Editor

Steel Mill announcement raises questions

Saturday, February 9, 2013

To the editor

As cheering as the news sounds, let's pause a moment ...

First off, exactly what sort of "steel mill" is planned? Will it turn ore into iron, or will it make pipe, or will it put coatings on coils of sheet metal? "Steel mill" can mean many things.

Next: Who is "Big River Steel?" Any connection with an Australian firm of that name? Are they publicly traded? One does not build a steel mill with pocket change, and we deserve to know who these folks are.

Which, of course, brings up: Where are they getting their money? It's one thing for a man to speculate with his own money. It's yet another to ask the taxpayers to pay.

While there is a role for the government, in providing adequate roads and waterways and a predictable legal environment, I do not agree that it is a legitimate role for government to provide investment capital. The state has no more business using tax dollars to build a steel mill, than it has buying Farmer Jones a new tractor.

I look forward to hearing more on this project.

John Steinke