Custom_campaign_image_close_drake_now

Tell the City of CO Springs: We Want Clean Energy - The Martin Drake Power Plant Must be Decommissioned Now!

350 Colorado

Tell The City of Colorado Springs -

We Want Clean Air and Clean Energy - Decommission the Martin Drake Power Plant Now!!

The Martin Drake coal-fired Power Plant in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs is dangerous & unhealthy, and its time is well past due for its closure. The Drake Plant’s significant pollution emissions of dangerous toxins shower down daily upon the community of nearly 400,000 people within a five mile radius (including 120,000 children), as well as into our water and soil. Despite it being one of the oldest urban coal plants still operating in the country, officials from the City and its municipally-owned Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) continue to waste hundreds of millions of ratepayer dollars supporting its operation – rather than investing in cleaner, alternative sources for the energy needs of the community.

It’s time to send a clear message to City Officials:

* Stop the Waste and Pollution, Make Investments in Clean Energy and Efficiency, NOT Coal!

* Allow downtown to Prosper Socially and Economically Without this Unsightly Facility looming in the Heart of the City,

* Having Over 70% of our Energy Come From Coal is MUCH TOO HIGH - A Step in the Right Direction is to Prepare for Decommissioning the Martin Drake coal-fired Power Plant NOW!

 

HERE ARE THE DETAILS:

The Martin Drake Power Plant is Unsafe and Unhealthy.

The health, safety and environmental risks associated with the Drake Plant are many. Over the years, this plant has escaped proper regulatory oversight to the detriment of the community’s health and pocketbooks. One of the biggest of risks is from the large amounts of sulfur dioxide emitted from the Drake Plant.

Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

As you may know, SO2 is a leading contributor to respiratory problems, and according to the US EPA, “Children, the elderly and those who already suffer from asthma are particularly sensitive to the effects of SO2.” SO2 also reacts with other airborne compounds to form tiny particulates that penetrate deeply into the lungs, causing breathing difficulty, coughing and decreased lung functioning. Recently the Denver Posted noted that, according to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) documents, the Drake Plant “along Fountain Creek has emitted as much as 9,000 tons of sulfur dioxide per year. Colorado Springs (pop. 440,000) is among the most populated of at least 13 areas that the EPA still lists as “unclassifiable” on meeting the 75 parts per billion SO2 limit.”(i)

In fact, many studies of the air quality around the Drake Plant conducted by professional air quality engineers, have all found the Drake Plant to emit SO2 in excess of safe levels of air quality set by state and federal regulations (up to 10X in exceedance). According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, CSU paid for it’s own air quality study to be conducted (using ratepayer funds) that also showed the air quality to be in violation of the regulations. However, the City of Colorado Springs refuses to allow the public to review their study (even though they paid for it), citing it’s too complicated and would confuse us!

Yet at the same time, the City aggressively asked a Colorado Court to punish a community member concerned about the location of her child’s school near the Drake Plant (there are over 40 schools within a five mile radius), by requesting fines and even jail time be imposed upon her, simply because she talked about CSU’s “secret” air quality study that was mistakenly sent to her!ii This begs the obvious question – considering the lengths they have gone through to keep this information from the public, just what is the City hiding? Is it information that would cause the Drake Plant to be shut down immediately if it was made available to State and Federal regulatory officials and to the public?(iii) Here’s a solution -- the City can keep hiding it’s report, but should close the Drake Plant so we no longer need to worry about its pollution!

Money to Burn

Further, CSU has already spent over $200 million to fund a private company’s research and development for equipment to scrub (remove) some of the SO2 pollution, and then to test and install the experimental scrubber. CSU pursued this project from Neumann Systems Group improperly under a sole source bidding process (non-competitive), as is alleged in a pending legal action which CSU is subject.(iv) But as it turns out, plenty of commercially available SO2 scrubbers were available for CSU to choose instead for a fraction of the cost, and could have been installed years ago removing dangerous pollution in the meantime. However we still await the Neumann Systems scrubber to be fully operational -- six years after the controversial contract was signed, exposed to unnecessary sulfur dioxide. And Neumann Systems seems to have taken their money and run, as they are no longer in business to even support the over-priced investment!

Opacity

Recently the nonprofit organization WildEarth Guardians, filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Colorado Springs and its Utilities alleging over 3,000 infractions that are violations of the Clean Air Act. As the 2017 lawsuit alleges, records from CSU indicate that in the last five years their continuous opacity monitors have failed for over 300 hours.(v) These emissions violations could potentially subject us ratepayers to $100 million in penalties, money that could have paid for a whole lot of solar panels on our community’s rooftops instead.

Pick Your Poison: Mercury, Lead, Arsenic

Aside from these violations, the Martin Drake Plant emits many other toxins and pollutants that are harmful to the people, animals and plants that make up our Pikes Peak region, including mercury, carbon monoxide, lead, cadmium, arsenic, nitrogen oxides and other heavy metals.(vi) Yet, cost-effective alternatives exist that would significantly reduce or eliminate this pollution from our air, water and soil. The state’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, no longer disputes that solar and wind power are more cost-effective than fossil fuels, and they will no doubt continue to decrease further in their costs.vii

Major Fire at Drake Plant in 2014

And let’s not forget the fire that occurred in 2014 at this 90-year old facility that nearly resulted in an explosion at a plant located in the heart of downtown and next to a major Colorado Interstate. During cleanup and repair, part of the plant was not operational for over a year. The coal trains that supply the Drake Plant and beyond that run through the entire city are another accident waiting to happen.

Colorado Springs Has Repeatedly Asked for Public Input, But Then Ignored It!

Many times the City has asked, but then ignored, the community’s expressed desire to close the Drake Plant. A professional engineering firm (that CSU paid $500K of ratepayer funds) concluded that the most economical path was to close the Drake Plant by 2020, when considering the many negative social, health and environmental impacts from this Toxin Factory.(viii) Yet that conclusion was readily dismissed. Then, the City Council ran a Drake Decommissioning Task Force and included an online survey, which resulted in over 2-to-1 responses in favor of short term closure of the plant. Yet that was also ignored. In an article in the Colorado Springs Gazette from September 2016. Colorado Springs Utilities Electric Planning

Manager Susan Lovejoy was quoted as saying, “Whether to replace it, is really up to the community.” Let’s let Ms. Lovejoy and the rest of the City and Utilities officials know, in no uncertain terms – we want the Martin Drake Plant closed, and its power replaced with cleaner energy and greater investments in energy efficiency, and we want the process to begin NOW!

We hereby provide notice that we want the CS Utilities to stop bad investments in Coal, and to instead invest in our health, and the health of our community through Clean Energy!

We Won’t Be Ignored Any Longer! Begin the Decommission Process for the Martin Drake Plant NOW!

Colorado Springs Utilities is a municipally-owned public enterprise. We-the-People of Colorado Springs as rate paying customers and owners of our Utilities, in addition to others who visit the region and are also impacted by its pollution, request that you adhere to the advice of the experts that you hired, that Martin Drake Power Plant be decommissioned no later than 2020.

We don’t want to be exposed to toxins in our air, soil and water. We don’t want our money to be wasted – planning and funding should be used only for renewable energy and energy efficiency.  Our community deserves the cleanest air, water and soil possible!

We say - Enough is Enough! We now submit this petition in an effort to make our collective voices heard!

 

Sources and Media Below

i http://www.denverpost.com/2017/01/15/colorado-springs-power-plant-sulfur-dioxide-pollution/

ii http://gazette.com/sulfur-dioxide-emissions-from-drake-plant-violated-federal-standards-attorney-says/article/1590718

iii http://www.kktv.com/content/news/11-Call-for-Action-Mom-denied-utility-emissions-study-415056083.html

iv http://gazette.com/lawsuit-planned-against-colorado-springs-utilities-over-scrubbing-technology/article/1585856

v  http://www.wildearthguardians.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=12913&news_iv_ctrl=0#.WPFYo1LMygR

vi http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/coal-and-other-fossil-fuels/coal-air-pollution#.WPFdZ1LMzUo

vii http://www.9news.com/news/local/verify/verify-wind-and-solar-are-becoming-cheaper-than-fossil-fuels/429333209

viii http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-group-to-appeal-epas-ok-on-martin-drake-sulfur-dioxide-emissions/article/1585343

52%

264 people took action

Tell the City of CO Springs: We Want Clean Energy - The Martin Drake Power Plant Must be Decommissioned Now!

350 Colorado

Tell The City of Colorado Springs -

We Want Clean Air and Clean Energy - Decommission the Martin Drake Power Plant Now!!

The Martin Drake coal-fired Power Plant in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs is dangerous & unhealthy, and its time is well past due for its closure. The Drake Plant’s significant pollution emissions of dangerous toxins shower down daily upon the community of nearly 400,000 people within a five mile radius (including 120,000 children), as well as into our water and soil. Despite it being one of the oldest urban coal plants still operating in the country, officials from the City and its municipally-owned Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) continue to waste hundreds of millions of ratepayer dollars supporting its operation – rather than investing in cleaner, alternative sources for the energy needs of the community.

It’s time to send a clear message to City Officials:

* Stop the Waste and Pollution, Make Investments in Clean Energy and Efficiency, NOT Coal!

* Allow downtown to Prosper Socially and Economically Without this Unsightly Facility looming in the Heart of the City,

* Having Over 70% of our Energy Come From Coal is MUCH TOO HIGH - A Step in the Right Direction is to Prepare for Decommissioning the Martin Drake coal-fired Power Plant NOW!

 

HERE ARE THE DETAILS:

The Martin Drake Power Plant is Unsafe and Unhealthy.

The health, safety and environmental risks associated with the Drake Plant are many. Over the years, this plant has escaped proper regulatory oversight to the detriment of the community’s health and pocketbooks. One of the biggest of risks is from the large amounts of sulfur dioxide emitted from the Drake Plant.

Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

As you may know, SO2 is a leading contributor to respiratory problems, and according to the US EPA, “Children, the elderly and those who already suffer from asthma are particularly sensitive to the effects of SO2.” SO2 also reacts with other airborne compounds to form tiny particulates that penetrate deeply into the lungs, causing breathing difficulty, coughing and decreased lung functioning. Recently the Denver Posted noted that, according to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) documents, the Drake Plant “along Fountain Creek has emitted as much as 9,000 tons of sulfur dioxide per year. Colorado Springs (pop. 440,000) is among the most populated of at least 13 areas that the EPA still lists as “unclassifiable” on meeting the 75 parts per billion SO2 limit.”(i)

In fact, many studies of the air quality around the Drake Plant conducted by professional air quality engineers, have all found the Drake Plant to emit SO2 in excess of safe levels of air quality set by state and federal regulations (up to 10X in exceedance). According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, CSU paid for it’s own air quality study to be conducted (using ratepayer funds) that also showed the air quality to be in violation of the regulations. However, the City of Colorado Springs refuses to allow the public to review their study (even though they paid for it), citing it’s too complicated and would confuse us!

Yet at the same time, the City aggressively asked a Colorado Court to punish a community member concerned about the location of her child’s school near the Drake Plant (there are over 40 schools within a five mile radius), by requesting fines and even jail time be imposed upon her, simply because she talked about CSU’s “secret” air quality study that was mistakenly sent to her!ii This begs the obvious question – considering the lengths they have gone through to keep this information from the public, just what is the City hiding? Is it information that would cause the Drake Plant to be shut down immediately if it was made available to State and Federal regulatory officials and to the public?(iii) Here’s a solution -- the City can keep hiding it’s report, but should close the Drake Plant so we no longer need to worry about its pollution!

Money to Burn

Further, CSU has already spent over $200 million to fund a private company’s research and development for equipment to scrub (remove) some of the SO2 pollution, and then to test and install the experimental scrubber. CSU pursued this project from Neumann Systems Group improperly under a sole source bidding process (non-competitive), as is alleged in a pending legal action which CSU is subject.(iv) But as it turns out, plenty of commercially available SO2 scrubbers were available for CSU to choose instead for a fraction of the cost, and could have been installed years ago removing dangerous pollution in the meantime. However we still await the Neumann Systems scrubber to be fully operational -- six years after the controversial contract was signed, exposed to unnecessary sulfur dioxide. And Neumann Systems seems to have taken their money and run, as they are no longer in business to even support the over-priced investment!

Opacity

Recently the nonprofit organization WildEarth Guardians, filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Colorado Springs and its Utilities alleging over 3,000 infractions that are violations of the Clean Air Act. As the 2017 lawsuit alleges, records from CSU indicate that in the last five years their continuous opacity monitors have failed for over 300 hours.(v) These emissions violations could potentially subject us ratepayers to $100 million in penalties, money that could have paid for a whole lot of solar panels on our community’s rooftops instead.

Pick Your Poison: Mercury, Lead, Arsenic

Aside from these violations, the Martin Drake Plant emits many other toxins and pollutants that are harmful to the people, animals and plants that make up our Pikes Peak region, including mercury, carbon monoxide, lead, cadmium, arsenic, nitrogen oxides and other heavy metals.(vi) Yet, cost-effective alternatives exist that would significantly reduce or eliminate this pollution from our air, water and soil. The state’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, no longer disputes that solar and wind power are more cost-effective than fossil fuels, and they will no doubt continue to decrease further in their costs.vii

Major Fire at Drake Plant in 2014

And let’s not forget the fire that occurred in 2014 at this 90-year old facility that nearly resulted in an explosion at a plant located in the heart of downtown and next to a major Colorado Interstate. During cleanup and repair, part of the plant was not operational for over a year. The coal trains that supply the Drake Plant and beyond that run through the entire city are another accident waiting to happen.

Colorado Springs Has Repeatedly Asked for Public Input, But Then Ignored It!

Many times the City has asked, but then ignored, the community’s expressed desire to close the Drake Plant. A professional engineering firm (that CSU paid $500K of ratepayer funds) concluded that the most economical path was to close the Drake Plant by 2020, when considering the many negative social, health and environmental impacts from this Toxin Factory.(viii) Yet that conclusion was readily dismissed. Then, the City Council ran a Drake Decommissioning Task Force and included an online survey, which resulted in over 2-to-1 responses in favor of short term closure of the plant. Yet that was also ignored. In an article in the Colorado Springs Gazette from September 2016. Colorado Springs Utilities Electric Planning

Manager Susan Lovejoy was quoted as saying, “Whether to replace it, is really up to the community.” Let’s let Ms. Lovejoy and the rest of the City and Utilities officials know, in no uncertain terms – we want the Martin Drake Plant closed, and its power replaced with cleaner energy and greater investments in energy efficiency, and we want the process to begin NOW!

We hereby provide notice that we want the CS Utilities to stop bad investments in Coal, and to instead invest in our health, and the health of our community through Clean Energy!

We Won’t Be Ignored Any Longer! Begin the Decommission Process for the Martin Drake Plant NOW!

Colorado Springs Utilities is a municipally-owned public enterprise. We-the-People of Colorado Springs as rate paying customers and owners of our Utilities, in addition to others who visit the region and are also impacted by its pollution, request that you adhere to the advice of the experts that you hired, that Martin Drake Power Plant be decommissioned no later than 2020.

We don’t want to be exposed to toxins in our air, soil and water. We don’t want our money to be wasted – planning and funding should be used only for renewable energy and energy efficiency.  Our community deserves the cleanest air, water and soil possible!

We say - Enough is Enough! We now submit this petition in an effort to make our collective voices heard!

 

Sources and Media Below

i http://www.denverpost.com/2017/01/15/colorado-springs-power-plant-sulfur-dioxide-pollution/

ii http://gazette.com/sulfur-dioxide-emissions-from-drake-plant-violated-federal-standards-attorney-says/article/1590718

iii http://www.kktv.com/content/news/11-Call-for-Action-Mom-denied-utility-emissions-study-415056083.html

iv http://gazette.com/lawsuit-planned-against-colorado-springs-utilities-over-scrubbing-technology/article/1585856

v  http://www.wildearthguardians.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=12913&news_iv_ctrl=0#.WPFYo1LMygR

vi http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/coal-and-other-fossil-fuels/coal-air-pollution#.WPFdZ1LMzUo

vii http://www.9news.com/news/local/verify/verify-wind-and-solar-are-becoming-cheaper-than-fossil-fuels/429333209

viii http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-group-to-appeal-epas-ok-on-martin-drake-sulfur-dioxide-emissions/article/1585343