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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Environment - Idaho following the lead of Indiana?

Tondu's proposed coal gasification plant has made the news in Idaho. (See a number of ILB stories by typing "Tondu" in the search box.) Today the Idaho State Journal has a story headlined "Cleaner plant still rejected by community in Indiana: Air quality a concern for St. Joseph County." Some quotes from the Idaho story:

NEW CARLISLE, Ind. - It appears ”clean coal“ isn't clean enough for residents of St. Joseph County, home to the University of Notre Dame's Fighting Irish and a proposed 550 megawatt coal gasification plant.

The St. Joseph's City/County Council, based in South Bend, Ind., rejected Tondu Corp.'s request for a special use permit to open an integrated gasification combined cycle, in which coal is converted into gas to produce power.

The council asked the corporation to return after compiling information on the proposal, its emissions and anticipated environmental impacts. Tondu provided the information; nonetheless, the council recently rejected Tondu Corp.'s request to have the six-month waiting period waived for reapplying for a special use permit.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management estimates the Hoosier State will need 2,500 additional megawatts of electricity within three years. Also, the department recognizes that coal gasification is cleaner than traditional methods of producing coal power.

But, as has been the opinion of many in the Pocatello [Idaho] area, where a similar-sized coal gasification plant has been proposed, residents in St. Joseph County have said any new pollution is bad, and Tondu Corp. should take its business elsewhere.

During public forums, the people of St. Joseph County have expressed similar concerns as Pocatello residents. Many of their questions focused on air quality.

There is more. The top story in today's Idaho State Journal is headlined: "Coal gasification and us: Proposed local plant sparks public debate." Some quotes:
POCATELLO - Seven months have passed since the surprise announcement: An out-of-state energy group had plans to build a 520 megawatt coal-gasification plant to generate electricity just outside Pocatello at the idled FMC plant site.

In the ensuing time, in which local leaders have been exposed to a crash course in chemistry 101, some area residents have taken sides on the issue in barroom and backyard conversations. * * *

If built, the coal gasification plant at the FMC site would be the largest of its kind in the nation and the first model built west of the Mississippi River. It would require 7,000 tons of coal to be brought via rail to the site every day, as well as a daily estimate of 5 million gallons of water, which could come from the Pocatello Water Treatment Facility.

The story is accompanied by this photo, which is identified as "The oxygen unit of the SG Solutions coal gasification plant at Terre Haute, Ind."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 16, 2005 04:48 PM
Posted to Environment | Indiana economic development