Pharos-Tribune

June 24, 2013

FRANKLIN: Questions about power plant already answered

By Ted Franklin
Guest columnist

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My mother often told me when I was growing up in Logansport that there will always be those people who argue just because they enjoy doing it.Those words are really starting to sink in as I read Dave Kitchell’s columns and Mercedes Brugh’s “fact sheet”.The proposed new power plant for Logansport has obviously attracted the attention of a small and insignificant group people who would like to relive their youth by protesting against anything, just because they enjoy doing it.Unfortunately, this “protest anything” approach that is being borrowed from the 1960’s hippie play book could have devastating consequences on Logansport’s future.Allow me to explain:First of all, the original RFP put forward by the City and LMU wanted to find what was most important to our city leaders--finding an option that keeps our electrical rates competitive, is a low risk to taxpayers, would keep jobs local, and offered some kind of environmentally friendly fuel source.All of the goals of the community leaders were found in Pyrolyzer, the company that was selected.Secondly, speaking of the technology, please don’t believe what people like Dave Kitchell and Mercedes Brugh are telling you. They continue to distort the facts and the people they get to speak to you about these issues work with them and support their position based on false information — they obviously do not want the facts. This technology is not incineration. It is not even the typical pyrolysis. All of those processes use oxygen and/or high temperatures.This new power plant will use neither of those designs. All of the articles you have found online or in the paper, all of the not-so-fact sheets the Brughs are so proud to have put together have not contributed to the public debate. In a Democratic-Republic, only accurate information moves the political process forward.Third, the Brughs’ facts sheet implies that the government does not have a good environment monitoring system in place. This new power plant is actually a dream come true for certain environmental groups. If Mercedes Brugh can prove to the EPA that her research is more valid than theirs and that she has the solution for all of our environmental needs, she should offer us some of her most profound insight. IDEM and the EPA will be monitoring the new power plant regularly and it will meet stringent standards. If those standards aren’t good enough for her and the protesters, that’s a problem they need to take to the federal government because it has nothing to do with Pyrolyzer. Perhaps it is time for another youthful march on Washington, D.C., or better yet a march to Windsor! I would enjoy knowing how frivolous litigation against a federal government agency works out while the new power plant is being built.Fourth, the new plant will produce a gas that is comparable to natural gas in cleanliness when burned. The emissions that are released into the environment are substantially less than our current power plant. These emissions will actually improve the environment. Those who are going to jump on the “save the environment” bandwagon, should be excited that the waste being diverted to the new power plant isn’t ending up in landfills and that this new plant is replacing the old coal burning plant. (the current generating plant is being federally mandated to shut down because it can’t meet the new environmental standards). Mercedes Brugh’s cry to save the environment is simply an opportunity to protest ... to protest something…anything! Simply put, the city is doing more to save the environment than we ever have before!Fifth, Brughs’ have been throwing the word “dioxin” around like he /she actually knows what it is and how it is formed. A dioxin is formed in the presence of high temperatures, oxygen, and rapid changes in temperature. This plant, based on all the public testimony and research, will operate at a very low temperature and without the presence of oxygen, thus forming no dioxins. Also, the gas that generates the electricity will be vigorously scrubbed before it is sent to combustion gas turbines. This environmental necessity is driven by economics because the pyrolysis gas has to meet certain standards to be burned in the turbines. In other words, using gas that is not cleaned would damage the generation equipment and lead to millions of dollars in repair or replacement costs.Mr. and Mrs. Kitchell, and Mr. and Mrs. Brugh, the answers to your questions are out there. You just haven’t been listening. Every single question asked has been answered. As the opposition, do you really want the answers or would you rather just protest and play politics? This project is a great advancement for Logansport. All of the advisers, engineers, and experts the City has hired and all of our elected representatives that support the project clearly have the community’s best interest at heart. There is no grand conspiracy to keep the truth from the public. It’s unfortunate that the“Protest Anything Club” has declared war on the effort to improve Logansport and save local LMU jobs. I’d ask you to stick to the correct information, but I know you won’t. To advance the public debate, I resolve to make sure the facts are presented.One last thought, I question Mr. Kitchell’s and Mr. Brugh’s motivations, when they have sank to the level of accusing me of trying to hide something, or of planning to go to work for Pyrolyzer after my term in office. The opposition is desperate, and they have lost this battle. Court challenges have been dismissed without so much as a hearing, and the city of Logansport has spent $50,000 defending their frivolous law suit!All questions have been answered but even more personal attacks and accusations will surely follow.Ted FranklinMayor of Logansport