June 6, 2013

BUCK: Let’s talk facts, not fiction

By Joe Buck
Guest columnist

---- — By Joe Buck

Guest columnist

Mr. Kitchell, I ask you to not criticize what we are doing for the city of Logansport without having your facts correct. We are working toward building a better future for our community. I believe that we have no choice but to invest in a new power plant because we are mandated to do something by Washington. The whole process for the development of the power plant has been open and transparent to the public and a great deal of time and energy has been put into presenting the complicated facts to the community. Yet you continue to distort the facts.

The accusations you’ve made against Mayor Franklin and the City Council are unfair and inaccurate. Mayor Franklin is absolutely dedicated to this city and the new power plant is one of the steps he is taking to ensure that our community has a long and healthy future. It is unethical to accuse the elected officials of something without a source.

The current city administration inherited an aging power plant without a plan forward in how to produce energy for Logansport, keep the city of Logansport energy independent, competitive, and save LMU’s labor force.

You claim that Mayor Franklin and the City Council have “hijacked” the responsibilities of the Utilities Supervisor. That is not the case. Paul Hartman fully backs the decisions that Mayor Franklin and the City Council have made in regard to this power plant. The Utility Service Board made the recommendation to begin negotiations with Pyrolyzer LLC to the City Council for our approval. No one was hijacked. No one was coerced. There is no grand conspiracy.

Many times the original master plan is brought up as being ignored by the LMU board, the City Council, mayor and consultants. Master Plan option 4 was to switch to Natural Gas generation at a cost of $100 million, a cost that would be added to our current electric rates.

The new plant exceeds this plan with its natural gas backup and is included in the privately financed facility that is currently being negotiated. The City Council mandated this in the RFP. We wanted a solution that saved LMU jobs, lowered our rates and didn’t raise taxes. This means that our citizens will not be paying a dime for this investment in our future. The investment is one of the best decisions that the City Council has made involving infrastructure development. This decision guarantees Logansport’s energy independence. The most important point to consider is that using this public-private partnership between the City, Logansport Municipal Utilities, and the Private Sector will save LMU jobs and will help create more jobs for the future in our community. Logansport will become more attractive to industry. One fact to remember is that the investments in the new power plant will double Logansport’s assessed value allowing us to increase services while decreasing taxes.

Pyrolyzer LLC does not use an incineration process in their design. Let’s get the facts straight and not continue to distort the design of the power plant. The City Council was also looking for a design that would not pollute the air, the water, or the land. One of Pyrolyzer LLC’s biggest benefits is that it will reduce the amount of Municipal Solid Waste from being placed in landfills. Pyrolyzer’s system will safely convert MSW to a gas that can be compared to Natural Gas in its cleanliness.

Unlike an incinerator, the emissions from the new power plant will be at an all-time low with the new power plant producing a fraction of the emissions than our current coal plant produces while producing four times the amount of power. The Pyrolyzer system is a new type of Gasifier technology that does not require high temperatures and high pressures. It cannot be compared to anything that has come before in the field of pyrolysis gasification. Opponents’ sources about various projects across the nation seem to be attempts to stop or delay progress in Logansport! The Baltimore project was an early 1970s Pyrolyzer, back then we had bag-phones, we now have iPhones smaller than the handset of a Bag-phone. Technology has greatly advanced in 40 years! Wind and Solar are being pushed and are not 24/7, 365 days a year. Hydroelectric is another suggestion from opponents, remember the trickle of water last summer in both the Eel and Wabash rivers, not enough to turn a turbine for any significant power generation.

Please take another look at the real facts, Mr. Kitchell, before you make any more unsupported accusations against the elected officials of Logansport and LMU.

Joe Buck represents Ward Two on the Logansport City Council.