Group forms to oppose coal-gasification plant

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By The Staff

ROCKPORT - Calling itself Spencer County Citizens for Quality of Life, a group of Spencer County residents has organized to fight a proposed coal gasification coal plant in Spencer County.

David Finley, one of the group's founders, said the group's members are concerned about the health effects of the proposed project.

"It's really a matter of health. Spencer County is already far too polluted from industries located here in recent years. It is time to change course and return Spencer County to a place where it is great to raise a family without having to worry about whether your kids will be poisoned," he said.

Steve Obermeier, a retired civil engineer and geologist who has spent much time the past year researching current levels and effects of coal-industry pollution in the Ohio Valley, agreed.

"This assault on our health must end but the proponents of the coal gas plant want to disregard our concerns and build their plant in our county without regard to the level of pollution we are enduring already," he said.

"Coal gasification from the syngas process is known to emit very large quantities of carbon dioxide, far in excess of conventional coal-fired power plants. Additionally there would be significant pollution from the transportation and handling of coal as well as from the spontaneous combustion of stored coal. Slag would also be produced in huge quantities, so some means must be found for disposing of it. And mercury, lead, and other toxins could be released unless steps are taken to capture them, but unfortunately existing laws in Indiana have lax environmental requirements."

The group will host an informational meeting about the proposed syngas plant at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the air-conditioned building at Oakridge Park.

The public, including residents of surrounding counties, is invited.

Speakers include Obermeier and Grant Smith, executive director of Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana.

The park location is 837 North Silverdale Road, north of Indiana 66 in Rockport.

For more information on the group, visit www.myspace.com/sccqol or e-mail sccqol@gmail.com.