Healthy Dubois County, Inc. (HDC)
The mission of HDC is to advocate for the environmental and public health of Dubois County.
HDC is a grassroots, public benefit not-for-profit corporation.
Donations (not tax-deductible) are appreciated and may be sent to
Healthy Dubois County, Inc.
P.O. Box 222
Jasper, Indiana 47547
Visit also Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/HealthyDuboisCounty for more information.
Since autumn of 2010, ordinary citizens from all walks of life—medicine, ministry, education, child care, agriculture, business, civil rights, social justice, etc.—have been actively engaged in a peaceful effort to advocate for clean air and transparent government pertaining to the City of Jasper’s plan to convert its 1968 coal-fired plant into a biomass incinerator. Atlanta-based Twisted Oak Corporation’s proposal, approved by city officials amid widespread medical opposition, calls for the burning of 300 tons of miscanthus grass daily (delivered by over 100 flat bed tractor-trailers per week)—near a residential neighborhood. Doctors, teachers, and concerned citizens from the Dubois County area have contributed to the development of this educational website; these pages reflect the grassroots nature of their ongoing efforts.
Thank you for visiting.
March 27, 2013
Objective, Scientific, Peer-reviewed Article Published in Global Health Perspectives: Internationally Acclaimed Notre Dame Professor Exposes Flagrantly Flawed Science in Jasper Biomass Proposal While City Officials Blame Concerned Citizens
- Biomass Ultrafine Particulates Unregulated and Exponentially (65 Times) More Dangerous Than Coal Plant Particulates
- Twisted Oak and Biomass Industry Evade Full Disclosure and Accountability
- Article Exposes SPECIAL INTEREST SCIENCE; City Sues Atrazine Company for Water Contamination While Their “Independent Consultant” with Biomass Industry and Monsanto Ties Assures “Adequacy” of Emissions Controls and Calls Atrazine “Promising”
- Article Highlights World Biomass Burning Harms, Common Biomass Industry Ethical Misconduct, and Specific Analysis of Jasper, Indiana, Biomass, Conversion Proposal
- Healthy Dubois County Requests Expert Independent Analysis Because Jasper Officials Pay for Profit Analysis without Any Human Health Risk or Cost Consideration; City Secrecy Results in Open Door Lawsuit
- Water/Drought Issues Unacceptable for Dedicated Energy Crop
Jasper / Twisted Oak Corporation
Health, Environmental, Economic Impact Studies, December 10-12, 2012
“Twisted Oak’s proposal is scientifically and ethically indefensible.” —Dr. Shrader-Frechette
Having never met world-renowned University of Notre Dame scholar Dr. Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Jasper pediatrician Dr. Norma Kreilein asked via e-mail if Dr. Shrader-Frechette might have the time, amid her extensive global environmental and health advocacy, to thoroughly review Twisted Oak’s publicly released scientific documents. Ten months later, HDC received three separate in-depth studies, conducted pro bono, specifically addressing Twisted Oak’s biomass proposal for Jasper.
Dr. Shrader-Frechette is O’Neill Family Endowed Professor, Department of Philosophy and Department of Biological Sciences, and director for the Center for Environmental Justice and Children’s Health, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN www.nd.edu/~kshrader
Three Abstracts from Dr. Kristin Shrader-Frechette, University of Notre Dame
The full text of these three reports will be published in national peer-reviewed scientific journals.
1. ”Making a Profit by Harming People, Especially Children: Indefensible Medical and Economic Science in the 2010 Proposal of Twisted Oak Corporation for a Jasper, Indiana, Miscanthus-Giganteus-Burning Biomass Facility”
2. ”Water-Related Health and Environmental Problems from Using Miscanthus in the Proposed Jasper, Indiana, Biomass Plant”
3. ”Unacceptable Agricultural, Health, and Ecological Risks from Burning Miscanthus in the Proposed Jasper, Indiana, Biomass Facility
Court of Appeals Decision, November 19, 2012
Please consider making a donation to help defray costs of litigation and educating the public. See address above. Thank you.
Atrazine: Further Government Transparency and Health Concerns, January 20, 2013
Indianapolis Doctor Says Atrazine Settlement Doesn’t Solve Birth-defect Problem, June 1, 2012
Backroom Deals, Biomass, Pollute Jasper: Citizen, Physician Concerns Ignored by Public-private Conspiracy, July 24, 2012
Mayor Seitz’s Position Paper on Biomass, June 24, 2011
Terry Seitz: “I am officially opposed to an agreement between the City of Jasper and Twisted Oak LLC. My decision is based on these key factors: Economic Development, the Business Plan, the Marketplace, and Community Well-being . . . . [A]s Jasper is home to a regional medical center, it would be foolhardy to ignore the public stand of many qualified members of our medical community who have chosen to make Jasper home to their practices. [emphasis added] Recently, in team training for Jasper’s upcoming participation in the Indiana Home Town Competitiveness program, we learned that the top attachment of an individual to a community was the openness of it. I am convinced that approval of this agreement has the potential to further polarize our community and seal it off more than bring opportunity.” See full text: http://www.terryseitz.com/files/power-plant.pdf
By October 2011 during the campaign and since taking office in January 2012, Mr. Seitz has by every indication reversed his position. Concerned citizens who campaigned for him remain hopeful that this eloquent essay from a new leader was real and that Mr. Seitz will yet find the courage and creativity—regarding this dire issue—to become a strong advocate for progress, vision, and change—prevailing themes of his campaign.
Indiana’s Record under the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), 2007 – August 14, 2012
City officials continually state to the public that as long as the power plant emissions stay within IDEM’s regulations, citizens should have no concerns. What the city officials never share is that under IDEM’s watch, Indiana consistently ranks between 45th and 49th worst in the United States for air quality, water quality, etc.—with southwestern Indiana typically being most troublesome. Jasper and area doctors also report high rates of cancer, asthma, cardio-pulmonary disease, heart disease, autism, etc.—conditions that are all scientifically linked to air pollution.
Local citizens whose health and lives will be severely affected by this plant deserve transparency, honesty, and high standards from their leaders. Citizens cannot count on IDEM to protect them. Education matters. Programs and policies that protect citizens’ health must be the priority.
Top Ten Reasons to Repeal the Biomass Decision, October 2011
The following ad was published by HDC in The Herald.
TOP TEN REASONS TO REPEAL THE BIOMASS DECISION
It’s not too late to learn and correct course.
10. “Do unto those downstream [downwind] as you would have those upstream [upwind] do unto you.” —Wendell Berry
9. Government inadequately informs and protects the public. The Ohio Valley already produces far more electricity (approx. 15,000 MW) than it consumes (approx. 4,500 MW) (Valley Watch/John Blair). Despite IDEM and EPA, our region is among the most polluted in the nation. After extensive research, William Sammons, MD, on August 12, 2011, reported that the baghouse and other technologies do not remove nearly enough particulates to make this plant safe for its location.
8. Dubois County ranked nationwide as the 36th worst (of 3,141) for yearly particulates in 2008. It has been in non-attainment for particulates—the EPA’s version of an F grade—for years. Would we tolerate more criminals if we ranked that poorly on crime?
7. The Twisted Oak power plant would add to our national debt. Available federal subsidies/incentives divided by an estimated 16 new jobs would cost taxpayers nearly $2,500,000 per job. If divided by the total 30 jobs at the plant, the taxpayer cost would still be $1,300,000 per job. The Gainesville, FL, Tea Party is leading the opposition to a local biomass power plant for both health and financial reasons.
ARRA, 2009 Stimulus Act, 30% tax-free rebate of Twisted Oak’s proposed capital investment www.dsireusa.gov Federal Register, Vol 74, No 11, Thursday, June 11, 2009, p. 27768, Biomass Crop Assistance Program, Final Rule, October 21, 2010 (up to $45 per ton of biomass fuel)
6. Politicians have made this decision despite widespread opposition from citizens, local health care professionals, and from national position statements from the American Lung Association, American Heart Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, which are based upon thousands of studies worldwide that show particulates and other pollutants are toxic and directly increase asthma, cancer, heart disease and premature births www.healthyduboiscounty.org. Recent analysis also suggests increased special education rates in southern Indiana.
5. The power plant’s location does not respect the sanctity of life and pro-life values. The unborn, pregnant, elderly, and ill are most vulnerable and deserve more protection than they have received in this process.
4. Biomass is not carbon neutral. The European Environmental Agency Scientific committee’s September 15, 2011, report calls biomass carbon neutrality “a serious accounting error.” In plain English or correct math, saying biomass combustion is carbon neutral won’t improve our air quality.
3. Truck traffic to and from the power plant will tear up our roads and increase pollution. Street Commissioner Raymie Eckerle, in a Jasper council meeting, stated one semi-truck equals 2,000 cars for road damage. Twisted Oak’s 18-20 truck deliveries per day for fuel alone would be equivalent to the wear and tear of 36,000-40,000 additional cars on our roads. Reference in minutes of July 18, 2007, Jasper Common Council meeting.
2. Miscanthus is very expensive to grow, and today’s crop subsidies may evaporate tomorrow. Farmers must wait several years to harvest before they might profit. Despite his assurances in June that the western corn rootworm was “not a significant risk,” University of Illinois expert Dr. Michael Gray now reports that resistant corn rootworms are causing “significant damage” to fields of genetically modified Bt corn in both Iowa and Illinois. The rule of nature is that pests develop resistance.
1. Our kids are exposed to enough pollution already. In “The Smokestack Effect: Toxic Air and America’s Schools,” investigators from USA Today, Johns Hopkins, UMass, and the University of Maryland extensively analyzed toxic industrial exposure to over 128,000 American schools. Two area schools scored worse than 95% of our nation’s schools. No school in Jasper’s city limits surpassed the 19th percentile, meaning 80% of schools did better. Although these investigators consider distance from smokestacks important, Jasper politicians voted money first.
Respectfully contact our current and future leaders, and ask that they repeal the biomass resolution.
Healthy Dubois County, Inc., is a public benefit not-for-profit corporation whose purpose is to advocate for clean air and a healthy environment for Dubois County. Visit www.healthyduboiscounty.org to directly access any of the above links. Donations (not tax deductible) may be sent to Healthy Dubois County, Inc., P.O. Box 222, Jasper, IN 47547.
end of ad
Local Medical Doctors’ Petition, May / June, 2011
The following petition was published eight times in May and June of 2011 in The Herald and The Ferdinand News. Amid this unprecedented medical opposition in a city as small as Jasper, on August 5, 2011, the City Council voted 7-0 to sign the lease with Twisted Oak; the Utility Service Board vote was 6-1 in favor.
Growing Body of Local Healthcare Professionals Oppose Biomass Power Plant
We, as concerned healthcare professionals, are opposed to Twisted Oak’s biomass power plant, and any further negotiations with Jay Catasein.
Norma Kreilein, MD, FAAP
Jill Smith, MD, FAAP
Michael Ruff, MD, FAAP
Douglas Bies, MD, FAAP
Yvonne Rominger, RN, MSN, CFNP
Bernard P. Kemker, Sr., MD, FACS
J. P. Salb, MD
Thomas Gootee, MD
Francis Gootee, MD
Kelly Fehrenbacher, MD
Michael Wohlberg, MD
Steven O’Connor, MD
Bryan Lilly, DO
Jason Vaughn, MD
Linda Hanekamp, DO
Monte Sellers, DO
Christopher Scipione, MD
Steven Dewitt, MD
Lisa Lindborg, MD
Daniel Eby, DO
Joseph Munning, MD
C. Steven Smith, MS MD
Toby Harmon, DC
Sheila Harmon, DC
Donald Vennekotter, MD, FACS
Nick Werne, MD
Kristen Werne, MD
Scott Beckman, MD, FACOG
Steven Hopf, MD, FACOG
Robert Ehrhard, MD, DDS
Judith Englert, MD
J. R. Hoffman, MD
Mark Luff, MD
Dean Beckman, MD
Matt Monesmith, DDS
Kenneth Troutman, DDS
Kevin Lusk, MD
Gary Riddle, MD
Gwenda Breckler, MD
Evan Hurst, MD
Scott Wilhelmus, MD
Ryan Sherer, MD
Thomas Holsworth, Ph.D. HSPP
Theresa Upton, RN
Linda Russell, RN
Scotty Munning RN
Lucy Weaver, RN
Alice Schitter, RN, NCTM
Marilyn Shelton, LPN
Renee Rottet, MSW
Dana Meyer Hopf, OTR
Kris Lasher, CMT
Kathleen Helming, RN, BSN
Betty Bobu, RN
Carrie C. D’Esposito, RN
Vicky Beckman, RN
Cheryl Hopster, RN
Mark Hopster, LPN
Stephanie Armstrong, RN
Stacy Fischer, RD
Ann Rasche, RN
Michael Hicks, CMT
Nancy Blessinger, RT
Ramona Johnson, School Psychologist
Mike Snell, RN
Erica Snell, RN
Other physicians, healthcare providers, and citizens are invited to be more involved concerning the biomass issue. Visit www.healthyduboiscounty.org for more information, or e-mail email@example.com. New yard signs supporting clean air are available upon request. Call 639-2903. Contact Jasper city leaders about this important issue, and attend the Utility Service Board meeting (Monday, June 20, 2011, 7:00 PM) and Common Council meeting (Wednesday, June 22, 2011, 7:00 PM) at Jasper City Hall. Your respectful voice for the health of our community is needed. Many thanks to Protect Our Woods and concerned citizens for help with the funding of this ad.
Contact Jasper city leaders and attend Jasper USB (June 20, 2011 @ 7:00 PM) and Common Council (June 22, 2011 @ 7:00 PM) meetings. Your respectful voice, action and attention for clean air and the well-being of our community is needed.
End of petition/ad
Renowned Massachusetts’ Pediatrician Dr. William Sammons’ Letter to the Editor
D. William Sammons’ made several trips to Jasper to speak to city officials and the public about the safety hazards of biomass pollution and the fiscal risks. He wrote this letter after speaking at the July 26, 2011, public forum, when 30 out of 33 speakers spoke against Twisted Oak Corporation’s biomass proposal (ten days before the city council voted 7-0 on August 5, 2011, in favor of biomass). In addition to Dr. Sammons, the following local doctors also spoke that night: Dr. Kelly Fehrenbacher, Dr. J. R. Hoffman, Dr. Ryan Sherer, and Dr. Norma Kreilein. At previous meetings, in letters to the editor, guest commentaries, public flyers, and an online petition, the following local doctors also publicly opposed Jasper’s biomass plans: Dr. Christopher Scipione, Dr. Steven Hopf, Dr. Steven O’Conner, and Dr. Scott Wilhelmus.
Health Effects from Living Close to Jasper Coal Power Plant, 2010 Report
HDC shared the report below with city officials on July 26, 2011, at a public hearing, and repeatedly asked for an independent health impact study because of the growing body of scientific medical evidence showing that burning biomass near residential areas is even more harmful than burning coal, per unit of energy produced. Doctors and environmental scientists today report that toxins and ultrafine particulates emitted from burning biomass will be worse, especially for children and other vulnerable people living close to the stack. See Dr. Shrader-Frechette’s research, among many others, for example. It is not often that a community has the opportunity to permanently retire a polluting smokestack from a residential area whose air is already compromised. The statistics below refer to the time when the Jasper Power Plant, built in 1968, burned coal.
See http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Jasper_2_Power_Plant. Numerous other reports and statements by the American Lung Association, American Heart Association, Massachusetts Medical Society, American Academy of Family Physicians (NC), etc., address the issue of biomass incineration and have been shared with Jasper city officials. Unfortunately, such presentations have been met with consistent disregard.
Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Jasper Coal Power Plant:
|Type of Impact||Annual Incidence||Valuation|
|Asthma ER visits||6||$2,000|
Statement to Renova Capital, June 2011
(A Denver-based investment firm founded in 2007)
Dear Representatives of Renova Capital, LLC,
We know that you are regular visitors to our website. We hope that you find this website informing, especially our growing list of concerned healthcare professionals. Please be advised (and financially prepared) that citizens are ready to diligently and legally oppose any effort to establish a biomass facility in our community. We are prepared to peacefully, responsibly, legally, and honestly prevent biomass air pollution from the proposed Jasper Clean Energy Center from occurring in our city and county. Please research what concerned citizens were able to accomplish in Crawford County and Milltown, Indiana. Thank you for your consideration. We would love to have a conversation with you concerning your biomass proposal for Jasper, Indiana. Please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Concerned Citizens of Dubois County
Clean Air Ordinance
April 2, 2011, a Community in Conversation gathered for the
Walk for Clean Air
Citizens say it’s a heath concern; city leaders say it’s a financial profit motivation.
This website provides information from various concerned parties. This information has been gathered over time and should be paramount to the decision-making process for this facility and for the future of the community. This website may not be fancy, but HDC has cited credible, peer-reviewed sources and has provided multiple links for the public to verify findings.
HDC would also like to give the public the opportunity to see what those who want to bring biomass to Jasper have to say; here is a website onto which the one-man corporation Twisted Oak, based in Atlanta, has put the city name of Jasper. To date, there has been no mutual “Community Conversation” offered or attended by Twisted Oak Corp. or any partners. The people depicted in the image are not even from Jasper or Dubois County. Visit http://jaspercleanenergycenter.com/
HDC would also like to encourage people to do a little research on Twisted Oak, the business who is bringing this multi-million dollar project to Jasper. Please know that such business ventures should be another huge concern for our community as a number of biomass facilities are closing their doors around the country and leaving the cities with the financial repercussions; to see more information with the cited sources to back up this statement, please visit our “Economic” tab as we continue to research, in depth, this project’s leaders and investors. http://twistedoakcorp.com/
Please do your own research as well. If you find valid information, please post it on the blog. Type words like atrazine, dioxin, biomass air pollution, particulate matter, miscanthus grass, biomass facility closures into any Internet search engine and see what you find.