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Our Opinion: Still moving forward

July 17, 2001

A fire at the under-construction beef plant in Brawley on Friday was a great concern for many in the Imperial Valley. It is critical that the beef plant be ready to go on its designated startup date — Oct. 22.

Fortunately it appears the beef plant project is not going to slow. The fire only damaged an air filtration tank, and, according to plant owner Bill Brandt, that will not slow the project.

The plant is an important project for the Valley. It took a lot of effort to make it a reality here. For a time there was talk that the facility would be built elsewhere. That would have been devastating for the Valley because it would have meant 600 jobs would not have been created here.

Local officials worked hard to bring the project to the Brawley area. Because of that not only will we see 600 new full-time jobs in the Valley, the number of jobs could increase to 1,200 relatively soon.


The creation of so many jobs will mean there will be many more people with cash to spend in the Valley and that will help the local economy. As spending power increases it could help attract commercial businesses to the area, and no local area needs commercial business more than Brawley.

Ultimately, the opening of the plant will benefit the local agricultural economy, which has been struggling in recent years. It could spark the growth of the cattle industry in the Valley, and that could spark the need for more hay. The ancillary effects of the beef plant will be felt throughout the Valley.

There seems to be little that can stop the project now. There still is the pending lawsuit between B.P. Ventures and a Brawley business owner who has voiced concern about how his business would be affected by the traffic created by the plant. However, the latest reports are that both sides are working toward a settlement.

There is a lot riding on this project for the Valley as a whole, so even a minor fire can send shock waves throughout the area.

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