Key Dates Pertaining to the Proposed Coal-to-Diesel Project
– April 2017: The Town of Dale annexed 500 acres of land in anticipation of this project.
– April 10, 2018: Dale Town Council approved industrial zoning for the project.
– October 10, 2018: IDEM issued a draft air permit for the facility.
– December 5, 2018: IDEM held a public hearing on the proposed air permit. 47 of the 54 speakers at this hearing spoke against the plant.
– June 11, 2019: IDEM approved the air permit for the project.
The Hoosier Environmental Council opposes the Riverview coal-to-diesel project from both the vantage point of environmental health and carbon pollution:
On the environmental health side, four of the largest toxic air emitters in the U.S. are within a 30 mile radius of Southwest Indiana’s largest city, Evansville. And toxic exposure no doubt affects health outcomes in the region where key counties rank 81st (Vanderburgh), 60th (Pike), and 65th (Knox) out of 92 counties in Indiana. HEC does not believe it is sound to add another large polluter in the region that will emit hazardous air pollutants, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide. Furthermore, we are deeply troubled that the proposed Riverview project is just 1 mile away from an elementary school and 1 mile away from a nursing home. Not only are their health risks attributed to the aforementioned air pollutants, but from a.) dust from four stacks of coal piles (anticipated to be 100 feet tall each) and b.) diesel exhaust from incoming and outgoing trucks.
On the carbon pollution side, Indiana has historically ranked as the highest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in the industrial Midwest, which has been the largest regional emitter of GHGs in the U.S. The Riverview project will only add to Indiana’s already enormous carbon footprint by emitting an estimated 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.
HEC’s resources are primarily directed towards initiatives that are statewide in nature (e.g., protecting Hoosiers from coal ash, safeguarding families from factory farm pollution, protecting endangered wildlife habitats, and fostering customer-owned solar energy). HEC gets involved on a case-by-case basis in project-level campaigns. Our organization’s staff resource capacity — technical assistance, in-house litigation, and field organizing — are presently tied up on other commitments. We are thankful that – in contrast to other environmentally problematic projects in Indiana – there are at least five public interest organizations that are meaningfully involved in trying to stop the Riverview Project, including SW Indiana Citizens for Quality of Life, Project Acorn, Valley Watch, Indiana Beyond Coal, and Earthjustice.
HEC will continue to inform our Southwest Indiana members of opportunities to oppose the project and will also bring this issue before Hoosier elected officials & their offices that have shown interest in environmental equity issues. During our next meeting with IDEM (effectively Indiana’s EPA), we will urge the agency to install more air monitors in Spencer County.
HEC is, furthermore, open to joining in coalition litigation efforts.