Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Midtown Eco Energy Plant

Carol Pass, Chair, EPIC

Friends of East Phillips and near by neighborhoods,
First, we have lawn signs to oppose the Midtown wood burning power plant if you choose to do so. Call if you want one. We could use a donation in return, but it is not necessary.
Then, here is stuff to help compose a letter to the Mayor and City Council. The extension of the option to buy the burner site is on Friday, so if anyone writes an email before Friday, that should be the request to the Council and Mayor, based on the points listed. People should try to sound uniquely different if possible, and use letterhead if they can.

We also need to write the legislators, especially these on this list. Soon! It is some work, but it is all crucial to our neighborhood.

It would be good if folks could add these letters to our archive of letters. We have been sending a stack of these to other people, like various members of the MPCA and other potential supporters. If you are willing to share your letter, email it to cpass@runbox.com.

If you have questions, you can call me at 612-280-8418.

With regard to the legislature:
Today, the Senate Committee on the Environment today gutted our senate bill, SF 3393, which previously said:
Under Permits.
(a) the MPCA may NOT grant a permit in a community with the following conditions:
1) the facility is within a half mile of a federally designated super fund site,
2) has a majority of low-income people of color and Native Americans,
3) has a disproportionate number of children with lead poisoning, asthma, and other environmentally related health problems,
4) is located in an urban area that has had numerous air quality alert days of dangerous air quality for sensitive populations between Feb. 2007 and Feb. 2008, and
5) is located near he junctions of several heavily trafficked state and county highways and two one-way streets which carry both truck and auto traffic.

The committee eliminated the word “NOT” and said the MPCA MAY permit under these circumstances. Unbelievable!! Most of these new “concessions” of the developers had already been agreed to and/or were already required by the MPCA anyway, so they conceded almost nothing.

Here are the conditions they added:

“Paragraph (b) the facility agrees to
1) Also they changed “5 or 6 jobs” to 35 % of all jobs. This sounds a lot bigger. The senate committee thought this was a concession, not knowing there were only 20 jobs in all, so 5 or 6 come here and 15 go elsewhere. Most of us believe that the pollution is not worth 5 or 6 jobs.
2) Equip all diesel trucks bring fuel to the plant with advanced filter systems that reduce emissions from diesel exhaust;
3) Report quarterly to the community where the facility is located on actual emission levels as measured by the PCA’s 24-hour emissions testing; and
4) Refrain from using refuse-derived fuel (RDF) (i.e. garbage)

First, 1) and 4) were part of the project already, so they conceded little new.
Second, and this is most important, none of this addresses the pollution coming out of the stack itself. That is the real objection, nearly a million pounds per year, plus the fact that, if the developers spent more on pollution control, the community would be protected more.

Third, the MPCA has acknowledged on p. of their Technical Support Document (TSP) and in testimony before the State Senate and House, that they do not even know how to test for some of the worst pollutants such as Mercury, Dioxins and others (TSP, pps. 145-149). The documents are full of “build-first-and-test-later” statements for the worst of the emissions (TSP p. )

Fourth, even though the MPCA tests the facility and reports to the community, there is nothing here that allows the community to do anything about what is going on. It is powerless.

Fifth, while Refuse-derived fuel is prohibited by this, but treated wood, such as plywood, is not and this is just as bad. Kandiyohi has agreed not to burn wood products with added polluting materials mixed in, but this has not been included in the legislation. They also wish to do experimental burns on various materials.

Basically, add all this up and it amounts to gambling with the lives of the families and children here, lives already being gambled on by the pollution already here. The real beneficiaries of this project will be the financial gainers on the other side of town. The losers paying for this in terms of risk to their health and the health of their children are all on this side of town, the poor part of town. This is not a pretty picture, but this is what is going on.

More info on burner and letter writing - go here: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dd9thxh2_48gfvnmb8p

Thanks for helping.

-Carol Pass

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