Oops, running late on getting the Letters to the Editor posted. Here’s the ones from this weekend’s Grand Rapids Herald Review — there weren’t any in yesterday’s paper. Who is this Robert Crowe and what’s his “dog” in this Mesaba coal gasification project?

Project will endanger health

Friday, November 10th, 2006 04:33:22 PM


In a letter to the editor in the October Herald-Review Robert Crowe of Hill City stated that Excelsior Energyâ??s proposed coal gasification plant would be good for this area and that arguments from the detractors of the project are mostly proven untrue. I challenge Mr. Crowe to prove the following arguments to be untrue.

Excelsior plans to use water from the Canisteo Mine Pit, known as Pit Lake, and run it through three to eight times in their cooling towers before discharging it back into the pit. Each cycle will reduce the water by 80 percent thereby increasing the mercury, phosphorus, sulfate and other solids as much as eight times with each discharge. This is documented in appendix 6 of Excelsiorâ??s Joint Permit application. The pit is tied in with the aquifers serving Bovey and Coleraine, (per Baxter Jones testimony to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.)

The proposed plant would be expected to discharge 54 pounds of mercury and 6,558 tons of other pollutants per year, as is documented in section 1.8 of the Mesaba Energy Project Environmental Supplement. According to section IV page 124 of Excelsiorâ??s report to the Public Utilities Commission, under the heading of â??Health Benefits,â? pollutants from Mesaba One will kill 1.5 fewer people in Minnesota that if it were a traditional coal fired plant, 6.4 fewer in the United States as a whole. We can double those figures if both Mesaba One and Mesaba Two were running. Encouraging isnâ??t it? I believe Hill City is in the line of fire for these â??health benefitsâ? too.

Darrell White

And here’s another:

Air quality will be compromised

Friday, November 10th, 2006 04:33:46 PM


Regarding a couple of letters by Robert Crowe of Hill City, I have the following comments. I don’t know whether he has a dog in this fight or if he merely chooses to express his opinion.

Judging by the address, he must live outside the predicted fall-out zone, won’t have to surrender his home to eminent domain, or leave if the air quality becomes unbearable.

In an earlier letter, Mr. Crowe referred to the diesel smoke that was emitted by the trucks when the natural ore mines were in operation. I worked in, on, and around these trucks for almost 40 years. Granted, I inhaled a lot of diesel fumes and ore dust, but they are relatively benign compared to what would be produced by Mesaba Energy. The smoke and dust were generally confined to the mine area and were not a hazard to the general public. However, the coal-fired steam locomotives that traveled through Coleraine and Bovey on their way to Trout Lake concentrator and the dumps that are now Eagle Ridge Golf Course would have been a different matter.

The IGCC process is referred to as a “clean coal technology,” but it can only be “cleaner coal technology” if and when the proper procedures are followed. So far developers have not demonstrated that they are prepared to do so.

Alvar E. Hupila

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