IDEM’s blanket statement inaccurate, maybe negligent

To the editor:

On Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 5:30 p.m. (CT), the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will have a hearing on the proposed Riverview Energy coal to diesel project for Dale. I have looked over the draft permit, and I am concerned about the blanket statement IDEM published in the local newspapers: “No significant impacts are expected from the proposed facility.” Honestly, how can this statement be made when IDEM does not address impacts from land use, noise, sound, light or visual pollution?

But more importantly, the State of Indiana does not monitor air quality in the Dale area (according to IDEM’s own website) and does not correlate it with local health statistics.  Consequently, additional levels of pollutants may not be adequately entered in computer models. IDEM’s Draft Permit, Appendix A, Table 2, states that it will allow 26 tons per year of hazardous air pollutants into our area’s atmosphere. Significantly, these pollutants include benzene, n-hexane, toluene and xylenes. All are known carcinogens. How can IDEM claim that there will be no impacts from this refinery, when according to the air quality permit, the refinery will emit 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide per year? I believe that this state-funded department’s statement of no impact is inaccurate, if not negligent.

I hope all those who are paying attention to this issue will attend the hearing in the Heritage Hills High School auditorium and encourage their family and friends to attend. It is our responsibility to be informed beyond what Riverview has told our local government and to question statements that are made in IDEM’s draft permit.

—Mary V Hess

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