Riverview needs to take earthquake risk into consideration

To the editor:

In the October 22 issue of the Spencer County Leader, Dr. Stephen Obermeier published an article titled, “The Wabash Valley Seismic Zone: A significant hazard to the Dubois-Spencer County Area."

Dr. Obermeier, a retired research engineer/geologist with the United States Geological Survey and author of numerous articles on earthquake hazard and risk, has many years of field experience.

In the article, Dr. Obermeier states, “Earthquakes centered in the Wabash Valley region also pose a significant seismic risk here in Spencer and Dubois counties, perhaps even larger than from the New Madrid region.” He goes on to write, “It is because of this earthquake hazard that any facility whose failure could impact public health and safety should also be designed and constructed to comply with these building codes. To ignore that hazard in the local area would be irresponsible.”

Given this information, does it make sense for Riverview Energy to plan a massive coal refinery in the city limits of Dale?

Their refinery would use reactors operating under very high temperature and pressure, producing explosive and deadly gas. Should even a minor earthquake occur, it is possible that the structural integrity of that refinery would be compromised, putting the health and safety of surrounding residents at severe risk.

Neither Riverview nor its engineering firm has said anything about this risk. It is not mentioned in any of their documents in the public record. Is it possible they do not know anything about this risk? Well, they know about it now.

—Michael Schriefer
Santa Claus




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