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Herald and News letter to the editor 6/9/11 by Paul Fouch, President Save Our Rural Oregon, Klamath Falls

Second biomass plant endangers air quality
 
I was shocked when I received notice from the Oregon Energy Department that Iberdrola Renewables, owner of the Klamath Cogeneration plant, plans to build a 35-megawatt biomass plant between Collins Products and the cogeneration plant.

It is exactly the same size as the Klamath Bioenergy plant proposed by Northwest Energy Solutions Co. and now going through the approval process. The combined size of these two plants would be one of the largest biomass concentrations in the United States. What could be the potential impact of this concentration?

Foremost is the potential for a drastic deterioration of our air quality. The combined concentration of toxic pollutants from the two closely located plants could blow into the south suburbs more than seven months of the year because of prevailing winds. There is also the risk that these pollutants will be combined with pollutants from Collins Products much of the time.

Preliminary research has shown that the Iberdrola plant is similar in design and air quality control to the proposed Klamath Bioenergy plant and therefore would emit about the same tonnage of toxic pollutants. As with the Klamath Bioenergy plant, there is also the risk of emissions being greater than they say because of lenient Oregon air laws and the variability of the biomass process. There are many other concerns, including use of city water, wastewater disposal and increased diesel chip truck traffic. Why do we need these meager power producers with all their environmental impacts when the Bonneville Power Administration has a power surplus and Klamath County will produce over 2,000 megawatts of power by 2017?

 

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