Lots of questions remain on proposed Dale refinery

To the editor:

In depositions under oath, Riverview Energy President Greg Merle said his only professional experience is tutoring kids for the SAT test. But yet he wants us to believe that he is qualified to build and operate a multl-billion dollar experimental coal refinery in Dale.

Inexperience isn’t acceptable, especially for a facility that presents grave public safety issues for everyone within miles of Dale, including Jasper.

Proposed outputs from the refinery include naphtha and diesel.

Daily production of naphtha (the main component of lighter fluid) is 287,671 gallons, which will be stored on site. A single spark by accident or terrorist attack could create an explosion that would rattle windows in Jasper and level the town of Dale in mere seconds.

That would ignite the huge volume of diesel fuel with daily storage of 552,328 gallons. Diesel doesn’t explode, it burns slowly, probably taking days to burn out. Currently, the Carter Township Fire Department, as good as it might be, is ill-equipped to fight such a fire. First responders from as far as 100 miles away might be called to the scene, leaving their home communities without adequate protection.

Little to no public discussion about the safety issue has taken place and if any has, it is kept secret, like nearly every other aspect of this nefarious proposal.  For more than two years, Merle has refused to answer citizen’s questions in any sort of open forum. He and Spencer County economic development officials apparently believe their constituents must simply trust an unqualified individual who desires to make a fortune by dramatically altering the quality of life of those who are forced to endure a massive industrial polluter as a neighbor.

Lots of questions remain. Like, will Huntingburg accept the refinery’s wastewater as proposed by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation? Will construction be financed by some Russian oligarch? Why build a plant that is producing fuel for maritime transport far from ports where the fuel would be used? And more.

Sadly, Riverview principals are mute. They don’t want us to know their insidious plans, hoping their political connections can pave their way.

—John Blair

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