Storm Lake Times Pilot

Letters to the Editor

The road to acceptance

A few weeks ago Tom Cullen authored a Times article advising local residents that the DNR’s public comments period for the Platinum Crush soybean plant was scheduled to end June 27 with a “virtual public hearing” scheduled for June 23, 9-11 a.m. Tom’s article went on to describe air pollution concerns that some of us have, and provided information to the effect that the soybean plant Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5) pollution would be less than the Albert City Valero ethanol plant. Tom was also concerned enough to provide an example of the soybean plant’s PM compared to the Valero plant’s PM pollution. 

Tom stated that “the crush plant could emit more than eight micrograms of PM2.5” and “the  Valero plant for the last 11 years emitted an average of 30 micrograms of PM2.5.” I was able to find an EPA document, AP-42 Compilation of Air Emission Factors, 9.11.1 Vegetable Oil Processing, that had a table listing process steps and PM emissions at each step. This totaled 2.687 pounds per ton of soybeans processed. This is 25 year old technology so I reduced 2.687 by 50% to 1.344 pounds per ton. Platinum Crush daily bean processing was proposed to be 3,300 tons of soybeans, 3,300 times 1.344 pounds per ton equals 4,435 pounds of PM emissions per day. Do the math and you will come up with 184.8 pounds of PM emissions per hour or 83,823,869,976 micrograms of PM emissions. That’s over 23 million micrograms per second!

In late January of this year I provided the Times with a letter to the editor detailing my concerns about the crush plant’s pollution potential. Using Platinum Crush’s Shell Rock soy processing plants DNR approved construction permit, in addition to the PM pollution in the previous paragraph, I determined that a daily atmospheric loss 462 gallons of toxic Hexane Solvent was allowed. The plant’s two natural gas boilers will emit 91,874 tons of CO2e per year. According to the EPA that is the same amount of CO2 given off by 18,100 cars driving 11,000 miles per year between Alta and Storm Lake. Rather than print my letter, Tom authored an article stating the soybean plant’s pollution was hazardous but, according to the BV County engineer, was relatively clean.

I challenge the Times to find a medical study, paper or any research document that proves air pollution is good for you. I did find that in Feb. 17, 2021, the World Health Organization published a study titled “Air Pollution Health Risk Assessment, Principles and Applications.” This study estimated that globally, 8.9 million deaths happen due to air pollution, resulting in 7.6% of the total yearly mortality and leading to 103.1 million healthy life years lost. The WHO assumes that by 2050 premature mortality could be double and air pollution is perceived to be the most severe environmental health-related threats faced by the world. A 16-year Taiwan study monitored 1.91 million senior residents who resided in areas where air quality monitoring stations are situated. The conclusion: This study provides strong evidence that later-life exposure PM2.5 air pollution had a substantial impact on the life loss of older adults. Lifetime exposure of 10 micrograms per cubic meter (within the EPA’s “Good” Air Quality Index) resulted in a mortality hazard ratio of 1.0245 or 20 months shorter life. 

Why did Art Cullen pen an editorial that supported the bean plant, why did Tom Cullen write a third-page story that served to discount the bean plant’s emissions to the “relatively clean” level and why would Tom minimize bean plant pollution quantities when he advised us of the DNR public comment period for the plant’s Air Emission Construction Permit. I guess we are being lead down the road to acceptance and eventual extinction. Or maybe Times media has forsaken the public good and detoured towards Build Back Better.

The current permit application submitted by Platinum Crush includes a 20% increase in production capacity over what they stated during the zoning hearings. Thus my numbers are 20% lower than actual.

John Pitstick | Storm Lake

Wrong about Joe

I must admit that I was wrong about Joe Biden. A year ago, I thought he was pretending to be ignorant and incompetent about the major issues affecting Americans. Now I know he isn’t pretending!

Brad Strader | Storm Lake

Guns over kids

Given the rise in school shootings and support among gun-owners and non-owners alike, it is astounding that Rep. Randy Feenstra, who supposedly supports family values, voted against the Protecting Our Kids Act on June 8. The law, which would raise the purchasing age for a semi-automatic rifle to 21 and limit magazine capacity to 15 rounds, passed in the House of Representatives, no thanks to Feenstra, who puts guns before kids.

Anna Redsand | Elk Horn

Vote with your backbone

“Tonight, I say to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible:  There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain,” said Liz Cheney, vice-chair of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack 

Recently, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Reps. Ashley Hinson and Randy Feenstra proudly announced their Trump endorsements.  They deserve them — for defending outrageous conduct or remaining silent in the face of threats to democracy.  

In just the first of seven hearings on the Jan. 6 investigation, it was clear that legions of Trump enablers will forever be associated with the dishonor of their devotion to the one “public servant” in 246 years to be impeached twice, to trade in the currency of conspiracy theories, to install as senior counselor a woman who called lies “just alternative facts,” to tell a Washington Post-calculated 30,573 lies of his own in four years.  In short, to flood the landscape with so many falsehoods that a divided America would abandon democracy in favor of Trump totalitarianism — and not remember the difference. 

It’s not that Iowa’s GOP legislators were never offered offramps. These are the ones they rejected in their respective offices:  impeachment of Trump for inciting insurrection, conviction of Trump for abuse of power, obstruction of Congress, and incitement of insurrection, holding four of Trump’s ardent foot soldiers in contempt of Congress for non-compliance with subpoenas. 

Consider this for November:  have Iowa’s GOP legislators demonstrated independent thinking, leadership or love of country over party? Will you re-elect The Dishonored or will you choose candidates with spines?

Karen Heidman | Sioux City

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