Riverview Energy is proposing to build a new refinery converting coal to clean diesel fuel via coal hydrogenation.
“Coal particles are hydrogenated at high pressure and temperature; therefore, the plant will have a significantly lower carbon foot-print than other technologies. Additionally, there are no unusable “leftovers” to be shipped to landfills–and no disposal of ash or any other waste is needed.” That’s what their website says.
Opponents against the Riverview Energy project speak to the dangers of CO2 and other greenhouse gases being emitted at the plant. Opponents are concerned that the plants location is to close to the elementary school in Dale. Opponents are concerned about the ground and water pollution that might be generated. Opponents say the facility is just to dangerous to have so close to the town and the school.
The reality is refineries are not new to the United States. There are 135 operable petroleum refineries in the United States. Just Google it if you don’t believe it.
Let’s take a look at just a couple in California. Why California? California has the strictest environmental laws in the country. The safety of California residents is utmost to the politicians and the California EPA. I think we can all agree on that. Let’s get even more protective and choose a part of the state that is the most environmentally restrictive politically; the San Francisco area. Can’t get anymore environmentally friendly than San Francisco.
Now let’s take a look at 3 of the 5 refineries in the San Francisco area. The first is the Valero Refinery built in 1968 by Exxon and purchased in 2000 by Valero. The refinery is located in Benicia CA. Benicia is a community of 28, 343 people. The refinery produces just under 53 million barrels of petroleum products each year. That is 7 times more barrels than Riverview hopes to produce a year.
Robert Semple Elementary School is 1155 ft. from the refinery. Hundreds of homes surround the refinery’s property. 4450 ft. away is the Benicia Middle School. Benicia High School is just across the street from the middle school and less than 5000 ft from the refinery. A major shopping center is 2500 ft. away. The town runs along a 4 mile stretch of I-780. The entire town of (pop. 28,000) Benicia is within a 2-mile radius of the Valero Refinery.
1 Mile south of Benicia CA, along I-680, is Martinez CA. Martinez California is home to 2 refineries, Shell Oil and Andeavor Refining (formerly Tesoro Golden Eagle now owned by Marathon). Combined these two refineries produce 117.6 million barrels a year of petroleum products. That is 16 times more barrels than Riverview Energy hopes to produce. The town of Martinez has a population of 38,373 and runs along I-680 for 4.6 miles. The Shell Refinery is 1320 ft. from Martinez Junior High School. Las Juntas Elementary School is 1000 ft. from the refinery. Hundreds of homes butt up against the Shell refinery property. The Shell Refinery butts up against the Waterbird Regional Preserve. Neither community had a US EPA “Unhealthy Air Quality Day” in 2018.
If the emissions and environmental concerns are so bad near these refineries, why would the most environmentally restrictive state in the United States (California), allow its citizens such close proximity to those refineries? If the California EPA is ok with it and the Indiana IDEM is ok with it, whom should we believe? The state environmental professionals or the opponents of Riverview Energy whose views are extreme beyond those of the states of Indiana and California?
Daryl Hensley, Jasper