The Emmet County Board of Supervisors - and in particular supervisor Alan Madden - showed a lot of leadership Tuesday when they cut through the red tape to approve a permit to construct a gas pipeline to State Line Coop's new Halfa feed mill.
The mill will be an incredible boon to the area in a lot of ways. It will give farmers another market for grain as well as provide a ready feed source. It will also provide jobs for grain truck drivers and the mechanics who will service their rigs.
There will be temporary benefits, too, with pipeline workers spending money locally. And that's good for everyone.
The pipeline will extend a half-mile south from Highway 9 toward the Catholic Cemetery then turn two miles west to N60 where it will turn two and a half miles south. Halfa, which has been hanging by a thread for years, could become a booming little community again. And no, that's not a fantasy.
County engineer Roger Patocka had recommended that 90 feet of the line under N60 be cased and that the line be buried to 60 inches.
But Madden objected to both recommendations, saying that enclosing the pipeline would merely create a "bomb" and that keeping the depth at 48 inches - twice the legally required depth - would make it easier to move the line if necessary.
"We're not going to be the holdup," Madden insisted. "They're going to be waiting on pipe and not us."
This sort of approach to county development is reasonable and prudent. The public can rest assured that, between Patocka and the supervisors, there will be plenty of safeguards.
Beyond that, though, the board is sending a very clear signal to other companies that Emmet County is open and ready for business.
So let them come.