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Power plant will be a good neighbor

To the editor: In response to the letter of concern written by Kelly Kirkland: Central Oregonian 6/21 edition. I guess this is how rumors get started, so I will address your concerns as you have written them — which, by the way, would have been avoided by a single phone call. We’ve answered a lot of questions from several people, many of them neighbors. (1) Location and noise: The power plant is in the same location it has been for 13 years. I have no idea where you live, but I know most of the people who do live nearby and I’m not sure you are one of them. As far as the noise is concerned, a car driving past your house would be ten times louder than this plant under operation. (2) Emissions: The original boilers used in this plant burned hog fuel (wood waste). Emissions from those, while very low, exceed what this one gas fired unit will produce. Please understand, we are, and will be, monitored very closely by the Department of Environmental Quality, State Pressure Vessel staff and state and local fire marshals, etc. (3) This plant poses no hazard whatsoever to children, livestock or homes. (4) Project changes (size): The plant has the exact same capacity as when it was built. The only change is the substitution of one boiler for another. The new boiler will be much more efficient than the original. When this plant was operating in the early 90’s it sold all of the excess power to PP&L. It produced a good deal more power than was consumed by the sawmill et al. (5) Dangers: In a plant of this nature there are more safety features than you could comprehend. They are backed up by additional safeguards. In short, and once again, state and local authorities would never allow start-up of anything that is unsafe. You mentioned something about a fire at the plant before. I built the plant originally and ran it through 1991. I can’t recall there ever being any such thing. The entire plant is built of concrete and steel and those materials aren’t that flammable. The plant has been shut down since 1992. (6) I have witnessed a few floods in this area over the last 40 years, which is one of the reasons the plant sits much higher than the existing ground level and the turbine and boiler are higher in elevation. (7) Water: I’m not sure where you believe our water came from before, but it certainly isn’t out of the irrigation canals. We did, at great expense, drill private 1000 ft. wells and purposely sealed off any surface water to a depth of 350 ft. The purpose was two-fold. First, we did not want to disturb existing shallow domestic wells and second, the purity of the water at 1000 ft. is very beneficial to water treatment for the boiler. (8) “Get Rich”: Any business venture is a risk. It will take quite some time just to pay off the debt service. Also, the nine years this plant has been down the property taxes and insurance premiums continued. I’m not sure I know of any “get rich quick” schemes. Sure wish I did! This plant is creating jobs, something Prineville can use. Ron Rhoden Prineville