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home : opinions : opinions July 20, 2017

7/13/2017 7:29:00 AM
Time to deep-six misinformation about Carlin Club

There's always two sides to every issue, at least, and a contested attempt by Carlin Club LLC to pump water out of its well adjacent to Carlin Lake is no different, with a lawsuit set to be heard in November.

It seems members of the Carlin Lake Association don't want water pumped through that well on the Carlin Club property for shipping to a commercial bottling facility in Marenisco, Michigan, for fear it will damage the lake. Carlin Club LLC is a four-member partnership that includes Trig Solberg.

For his part, as we have reported, Solberg says the amount of water taken won't hurt the lake and, what's more, the operation will create jobs.

The lake association disagrees, and thus the lawsuit. And they are busy raising money to pay the costs of the litigation, which they say is necessary to accomplish the mission of the association, which is to "preserve and protect Carlin Lake and its surroundings."

Well, OK, that's their right, and it is the right of Carlin Club LLC to defend itself vigorously.

But what is not all right is the spreading of misinformation by opponents of the project, particularly in attempts to raise money for their lawsuit.

As fundraising emails are sent around, according to those we have seen, inaccuracies and outright falsehoods about the project have appeared, namely, that Solberg and his partners are seeking to establish a high-capacity well there.

And that just isn't true.

Naturally, court battles are fought over evidence, and both sides will have their day in court, their chance to present their evidence.

But court cases are also decided, sometimes and in part, in the court of public opinion. Judges are human, too - at least most of them - and they can be swayed by what they read just as much as anybody else.

So it's important to keep the debate honest. Not to mention it's just simply detestable to raise money based on false information. Propaganda serves no good cause.

There are several issues that do need to be debated, both around Carlin Lake and the Northwoods, but it is not the phony one about a high-capacity well that no one is asking for.

First off, Carlin Club would need prior approval from the state for a high-capacity well. They haven't asked for it, and Solberg says they are not about to.

Second, a high-capacity well is one that pumps more than 100,000 gallons a water a day, and Solberg says they only need, at most, a fifth of that.

No need for a high-capacity well, then, but there is apparently a need for scare tactics by the project's opponents.

With that myth out of the way, let the parties debate whether the actual 20,000 gallons taken would hurt the lake, which has 50 million gallons of water and is replenished, or not.

Solberg says no, and he has both state and Vilas County approvals to back him up. He says he also has a well test in which 9,000 gallons was pumped over three hours and the well returned to its normal state in no more than three minutes.

All of this suggests the operation is not harmful to the lake - and so does the history of the Carlin Club and the past sale of the excellent water by the original owner. That operation didn't hurt the lake, either.

Now if the project's opponents have evidence to the contrary, they should produce it, rather than manufacture fake rumors of a high-capacity well.

If the proposed plant is as safe for the lake as Solberg says it is - and so far we have no reason to doubt the claim, because the other side hasn't proven him wrong - then he should be allowed this use of his property. It's a matter of his constitutional right.

It's also a matter of jobs. The bottling plant will employ as many as 20 people in a region desperate for jobs and prosperity. Sadly, Minocqua - also in need of economic development - could have had those jobs, but Marenisco jumped at the opportunity to help its citizens when Minocqua didn't work out.

The point is, there's no reason to foreclose job creation on the basis of rigid ideologies. These days, and any day really, there had better be a good reason to turn your back on the ability of our residents to make a decent living.

So far we have't see any such good reason to stop this project. That's not say the other side won't get around to producing some real facts. But, in the meantime, they should stop peddling rumors that they know to be false. Deep-six the misinformation and let's stick with, as Dragnet's Joe Friday used to say, "All we want are the facts, ma'am."

Or sir, as the case may be.

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