Update 11/01 Biomass Pollution and Timeline of Public Comments Reply

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Biomass Pollution and Timeline of Public Comments

The log will be updated as items appear in the news or on the internet.

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11/1:  Commission names Viehe interim GRU GM By Christopher Curry
Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 3:32 p.m.

After rising through the ranks of Gainesville Regional Utilities for nearly two decades, Kathy Viehe is now in charge of the utility.  The City Commission unanimously voted to name Viehe interim general manager at a special meeting Thursday afternoon.  SUN

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Never built

10/31: Pamela Mincey (column, Oct. 26) thinks it’s contrarian if an individual, not to mention several subdivisions, does not wish to live near a power plant that both the American Lung and Heart associations have reported as a threat to the body parts they represent. The culprit ­— particulate matter — has been found to escape even the best filters and is not “absorbed” by other trees. The verdict is that biomass plants should never be built/operated near population centers.

Mincey, being a pilot, apparently sees nothing wrong living with the constant sound of a 747 taxiing for take off. Nor does she seem to have a problem with the constant parade of wood delivery trucks traversing U.S. 441 which, by the way, are burning her dreaded carbon-based fuel, a fact she conveniently overlooks.,  Bill Maur,  Alachua (SUN)

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10/31:  Subject:     Turkey Creek Neighbors of Biomass Plant From:     hutch@ALACHUACOUNTY.US
Date:     Thu, 31 Oct 2013 13:44:28 +0000

text/plain (37 lines) , Petition for Suspension of (14 kB) , DB-10-47 Application_ General Performance Standards.pdf (1 MB)

Dear City of Gainesville Mayor and Commissioners:

What we, as neighbors of the biomass plant, wish for you to do, is
simply enforce your noise ordinance. We have rights defined by the State
of Florida Constitution.
We have have had these rights diluted by the lack of standards imposed
by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. But in their
deficiency, the Gainesville City code of ordinances has defined these
protections. And under these protections, a selective portion of the
code is being applied rather the actual code as defined.

There is no point in discussing the first criteria in the ordinance that
defines noise. It is what it is! And it essentially directs the City to
stop the noise. It doesn’t require more than one resident to register a
complaint. Only one!

We have had many residents complaining and signing this petition (text
attached). The noise is real! I spent 3 days sitting at a table
collecting signatures and listening to people share their unpleasant
stories, about how their quality of life has been devastated. It was
truly an experience that you would not want to share.

And this is controllable. Just enforce the ordinance and shut the plant
down until all these noise and odor issues are resolved!

Remember, the Letter of General Performance Standards by GREC (attached)
shows that these issues must be resolved. And if they are actually
selling MW’s, then they are essentially operating. Those conditions must
be met now and there is no exemption to the degradation to the quality
of life.

Sincerely,
Jerry Meriwether
Alachua, Florida
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10/30:  Gainesville City Commission to select interim GRU chief

Published October 30, 2013

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10/30: October bills show first of two rate changes from biomass

Published October 30, 2013
The October bills for electric customers of Gainesville Regional Utilities show the first of two rate increases scheduled for this budget year with the biomass plant coming online.

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10/29: I talked with an environmental engineer yesterday about GREC’s wanting to modify the air permit to a different standard than agreed to. Evidently this is done all the time if the standard they agreed to is stricter than the national EPA standard. He referred to it as agreeing to Charmin bath tissue and changing to generic later. An the courts allow them to do it.  Frank Nosko

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10/29: City negotiators and GREC end plant purchase discussions

By Christopher Curry  Published: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 8:02 p.m.

Negotiations on the city’s potential purchase of the biomass plant have likely ended after a single round of talks between Gainesville officials and representatives of the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center.

During an initial round of talks in a Monday telephone conference, GREC officials said their estimate has the fair market value of the plant “hundreds of millions higher” than the city’s $400 million offer, according to an item being prepared for the Nov. 7 City Commission meeting. SUN

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10/28:  Suwannee commissioners to medical waste incinerator firm: Look elsewhere

Published October 28, 2013 In a two-sentence letter, county commissioners pointed to “repeated appeals from the public to prevent any incinerator from locating” at the county-owned industrial tract.

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10/28: The Dollar General Site at Hague and all the padding of pockets! !  There is a realtor sign on the site that was just placed there, Swift Creek Realty SOLD.

The realtor of the sale is Carrie Cason wife ,Matt Cason and they own Concept Construction and that is who is building the Dollar General Store and he and John Freeland owner of property is in each others pockets. John Freeland is the top dog building official was county for 15 yrs, and is now City of Gainesville since April. Freeland has a “solid relationship with the building development industry. So needless to say Freeland knows all the twist and turns, and knows just how to cross the t’s and dot the I’s ! This is how he knew to approach the City of Alachua to request to annex the Dollar General Site property into the City of Alachua.. I have fought him and this issue since 2004( on record in the City of Alachua minutes from zoning meetings.) The crook is still doing his under handed work. So Mr. Big Shot top dog City of Gainesville building official will just keep right on doing his thing, because he will take a bribe or favors in exchange for signing off on permits. I will never respect, or trust him. And it upsets me to know that my tax dollars will continue to pay his salary ! The first thing that he did on this property was to demolish a house that is listed on the historical site map for Alachua County now tell me that people don’t turn their backs and act like they aren’t looking ! But no one in the city of Alachua would listen then, and they still don’t care.. $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

Commissioner Robert Wilford is getting a dose of his own medicine. He was so rude to me at one of the City of Alachua Commission meeting about the Dollar General Store site. I ask them to please take more time in their final decision about that site being across from The Historical Hague Cemetery and The Historical Methodist Church. I expressed that I didn’t want a Dollar General Store in the Hague Community or across from the cemetery and church property. It just doesn’t fit in to the rural cluster community format.

Well now Robert Wilford is doing the same dance about the “Bio-Mess” making statements like quote “ that I purchased a home in the quiet Turkey Creek Golf (not) Community, and now my world is turned up side down.” I well understand the feeling, because I feel that the quiet Community of Hague and it’s Historical values (which are many) will never be the same ! ! !

Please don’t miss- understand ;I am very all against the “Bio-Mess”. It affects me also. Now he should better understand my plea to Alachua City Commission ,and no one listened !

Dee W. Watson, President, Historical Hague Community Cemetery Association, Inc.

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10/26:  Pamela Mincey: Biomass opponents ignore climate-change science

By Pamela Mincey  — Special to The Sun  Published: Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.

U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho said letting the United States default would bring stability to the economy. Anti-biomass crusader Paula Stahmer (column, Oct. 17) said woody biomass isn’t carbon neutral. They both ignore facts that don’t support their preconceived ideology.

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10/26: Similar story —  Unfortunately for Gainesville Regional Utilities customers and city residents, four of the seven members of the City Commission don’t know the rule of holes: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!

Harrisburg, Pa., bankrupted itself with a similar fiasco; substitute “incinerator” for “biomass” and you get a similar story. George Braun, Gainesville SUN

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10/25:  What a Tangled Web They Weave!   WHEN THE STANDLEY SISTERS OWNED THE PROPERTY, IT WAS IN ALACHUA COUNTY, WHEN THEY DIED,
JOHN FREELAND INHERITED THAT LAND.    HE  ANNEXED IT INTO THE CITY OF ALACHUA, & SOLD IT BACK TO COUNTY
FOR $1/4 MILLION OF OUR TAX DOLLARS—- WHILE HE WAS A COUNTY BUILDING SUPERVISOR !

So Our tax dollars went to buy his land, Provide him with Water (via BioMass Pipeline), Re-Striping COUNTY ROAD 25A,
Ingress & Egress Lanes off of COUNTY ROAD237,  New Culverts & Re-Striping off of US441,
ALL these BENEFITS to ENCHANCE THE LAND OF JOHN FREELAND & CO.

NOW THAT’S SHADY !

Lynn

* This Violated:

City of Gainesvilles’s  Comprehensive Plan  RE: Intergovernmental Element (1999) &
Alachua  COUNTY’S COMPREHENSIVE PLAN  RE:  RURAL CLUSTER’S  (1984)

PROPOSED DOLLAR  GENERAL SITE  =  FREELAND PROPERTY !

(Program funded by $29 million in voter- approved bonds and $15 million in Sales Surtax)

http://www.alachuacounty.us/Depts/EPD/Documents/acquiredprop/SFA%20Freeland%20CE%20Story%20Sheet.pdf

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10/24:  Excess cost:  While Gainesville Regional Utilities General Manager Bob Hunzinger resigning is welcome news to many GRU ratepayers and employees, the discussion should not be whether the city pays Hunzinger $86,000 or $96,000 in severance pay to leave in three weeks (and agree to not sue the city).

In either case this cost dwarfs the excess cost left behind for GRU ratepayers in part because of the execution of the power-purchase agreement contract under his direction. We as citizens should step up and demand results from the City Commission. Why should citizens pay for these mistakes?

Although Hunzinger contributed, he probably didn’t do this alone. Removing one person helps, but it doesn’t repair the damage left behind.

In this case the damage is well defined. It is the contract, which could cause households and businesses to have to request protection from a bankruptcy judge for default on some payments. And the new GRU fee structure certainly will not be a motivator for any new business to locate jobs here.  Don Glendening,  Gainesville (SUN)
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10/24: City seeks 20-year permit to withdraw 30 million gallons a day from aquifer. (Actually, up to 34 mgd in the fine print)
By Christopher Curry  Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013

After a year of planning and preparation, Gainesville Regional Utilities has applied for a new permit to pump groundwater to supply its water utility customers.

With its current five-year permit slated to expire next August, GRU applied to the St. Johns River Water Management District on Oct. 11 for a 20-year permit to pump an average of 30 million gallons per day. That is the same amount the utility is allowed to withdraw under its current permit, but an increase from the 23 to 24 mgd the utility currently pumps. (SUN)

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10/23: City seeks 20-year permit to withdraw 30 million gallons a day from aquifer

Published October 23, 2013
After a year of planning and preparation, Gainesville Regional Utilities has applied for a new permit to pump groundwater to supply its water utility customers.

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10/23:  City votes to make offer on biomass plant

Published October 23, 2013  Late last Thursday night, the City Commission narrowly voted to make a $400 million non-binding offer to purchase Gainesville’s new biomass plant.

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10/23:  Remove the mistake   We enjoyed the silence of the biomass plant for one day and all the sounds of nature that we knew before it started its incessant noisy operation. By the next day, it was quite obvious that we are not to enjoy our lives.

 The plant was roaring as loud as ever before at 3:30 a.m. from my back patio and a deep thumping was back. As I write this, the beat goes on and a sound like the roaring of 747s circling is clear.

 This plant cannot be a part of the future of Turkey Creek and must be shut down, torn down and scrapped. It is a terrible mistake brought to us by misguided politicians and greedy carpetbaggers from Boston.

 Mayor and City Commission: You all need to be here to listen to the atrocious noise you have created. I pray that you will come to your senses and have this mistake removed.  Peter V. Perkins, Alachua
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10/22:  Parting ways:  Published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013  Gainesville Regional Utilities General Manager Bob Hunzinger’s departure is in the best interests of everyone involved.  His decision to approve a rate increase for the biomass plant, ignoring legal advice, was the latest example of him acting on behalf of the plant’s owner instead of GRU ratepayers. (SUN)
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10/22: Due diligence   Should Gainesville buy the biomass plant? A thousand times no, especially after watching Todd Chase say that if the commission members had done their due diligence five years ago, we wouldn’t be having these (awkward) discussions.

Just who went to Austin, Texas, to check out the facility there? Costs? Noise? Dust? Talked to residents living nearby? Read financial statements? This is all boots- -on-the ground stuff.

My wife and I moved here in 2011. It’s been one thing after another, and we don’t even live within the city limits. We also voted against incorporation the last time around.

And while we’re finally exploring some sort of diligence (better late than never?) regarding the biomass plant, perhaps someone needs to investigate Gainesville Regional Utilities General Manager Bob Hunzinger’s role. Again, I guess. And now he’s resigning?  Jeffrey Jones,  Gainesville (SUN)

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10/20: Mr. Mark Rodgers: I can get a key to the TCMOA office & we can meet there at 6 pm Mon Oct 21. After that, Pete can take you to his house so you can hear the noise from the backside of Turkey Creek abutting the San Felasco. From the TCMOA office, we can walk to Creekside Villas for another listen. Kimberly Sims has youtube videos. Her home or Greg Williamson’s are good spots to listen.

Sincerely,Janye

On Sun, Oct 20, 2013 at 7:54 PM, <PVPERKINS1@aol.com> wrote:

Mark, I will check with my wife and see what she has planned and let you know. I do hope you are staying in Turkey Creek in an area that can appreciate the noise/pollution of the Biomass plant. Enjoy your evening.

Very Respectfully Yours, Pete

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10/20: In a message dated 10/20/2013 7:39:35 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, mrodgers@emienergy.com writes:

Might you be able to meet Monday evening? I don’t want to interfere with your dinner plans but I could do anytime 6PM or later. I am staying in Turkey Creek, so I will be nearby.

Best, Mark

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10/20: Mark, When this week? My wife and I are planning to escape the noise and pollution of your GREC Biomass Plant for 10 days by going to the Atlantic Beaches of Florida. This escape starts with a roll out of our RV from storage on Tuesday AM and then leaving Wednesday AM to comply with Turkey Creek Master Owners Association (TCMOA) RV loading and unloading rules.

So unless you were going to be meeting with me on Monday, my week is busy with a planned surf fishing trip. Your message which arrived at 6:32 PM on Sunday 20 October 2013 provides only Monday for this visit.

The ball is in your court. Let me know what time Monday.

Very Respectfully Yours, Peter V. Perkins, Ph.D.

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10/20: Forgot to mention, Comm. Boukari also was told it takes 17 hours to start-up the plant. So it’s not as simple as flipping a switch to start-up or power down.

Quiet times may simply be a function of wind directions. Please share w/ your people. Janye

T: 386-418-1111 C: 352-359-8195 http://www.janehendricks.com

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10/20: On Sun, Oct 20, 2013 at 6:41 PM, jane Hendricks <jehatty@gmail.com> wrote:

According to Commissioner Ben Boukari who spoke at our TCMOA board meeting Wed. Oct 16th after the biomass workshop, the materials to dampen or silence the noise will NOT be installed until early to mid-DECEMBER. He toured the GREC facility Oct 16 & this is what he was told. A specially constructed $500,000 fiberglass foam thing will be installed in the stack. Noise should be gone by mid-Dec. (he says). He suggested we also send complaints to governor’s mailbox.

Debby or Karen: plz send to Ray & Nathan & Jo

Janye T: 386-418-1111 C: 352-359-8195

http://www.janehendricks.com

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10/20: Empty promises” – I want to warn Turkey Creek residents and Alachua County Public Works compound employees wearing masks due to dust emitted by the biomass plant.

Despite repeated complaints from residents about toxic dust containing carcinogens from the alleged “cleanup” of the Koppers Superfund site, no one acted to protect citizens.

At citizens’ insistence, there was discussion that the EPA-Beazers plan include relocation of affected residents during the cleanup. However, neither the city or county insisted on this, in effect throwing nearby residents to the wolves.

Federal, state and local governments did nothing to protect us or nearby employees at the city vehicle maintenance facility, where employees also wear dust masks

I hope you find our local politicians and supposed protective agencies more responsive to your concerns than we did, but beware of empty promises. Lucky for you that both city and county commissions include new commissioners who may hear your voices and act in an effective way. Susan Fairforest, (SUN)

*** Continue

Subject: Turkey Creek Neighbors of Biomass Plant
From: hutch@ALACHUACOUNTY.US
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2013 13:44:28 +0000
Content-Type: multipart/mixed
Parts/Attachments:
Parts/Attachments text/plain (37 lines) , Petition for Suspension of (14 kB) , DB-10-47 Application_ General Performance Standards.pdf (1 MB)
Dear City of Gainesville Mayor and Commissioners:

What we, as neighbors of the biomass plant, wish for you to do, is 
simply enforce your noise ordinance. We have rights defined by the State 
of Florida Constitution.
We have have had these rights diluted by the lack of standards imposed 
by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. But in their 
deficiency, the Gainesville City code of ordinances has defined these 
protections. And under these protections, a selective portion of the 
code is being applied rather the actual code as defined.

There is no point in discussing the first criteria in the ordinance that 
defines noise. It is what it is! And it essentially directs the City to 
stop the noise. It doesn't require more than one resident to register a 
complaint. Only one!

We have had many residents complaining and signing this petition (text 
attached). The noise is real! I spent 3 days sitting at a table 
collecting signatures and listening to people share their unpleasant 
stories, about how their quality of life has been devastated. It was 
truly an experience that you would not want to share.

And this is controllable. Just enforce the ordinance and shut the plant 
down until all these noise and odor issues are resolved!

Remember, the Letter of General Performance Standards by GREC (attached) 
shows that these issues must be resolved. And if they are actually 
selling MW's, then they are essentially operating. Those conditions must 
be met now and there is no exemption to the degradation to the quality 
of life.

Sincerely,
Jerry Meriwether
Alachua, Florida

The Dollar General Site at Hague and all the padding of pockets! !

There is a realtor sign on the site that was just placed there, Swift Creek Realty SOLD.

The realtor of the sale is Carrie Cason wife ,Matt Cason and they own Concept Construction and that is who is building the Dollar General Store  and he and John Freeland owner of property is in each others pockets.  John Freeland is the top dog building official was county for 15 yrs, and is now City of Gainesville since April. Freeland has a “solid relationship with the building development industry. So needless to say Freeland knows all the twist and turns, and knows just how to cross the t’s and dot the I’s !  This is how he knew to approach the City of Alachua to request to annex the Dollar General Site property into the City of Alachua.. I have fought him and this issue since 2004( on record in the City of Alachua minutes from zoning meetings.) The crook is still doing his under handed work. So Mr. Big Shot top dog City of Gainesville building official

will just keep right on doing his thing, because he will take a bribe  or favors in exchange for  signing off on permits.  I will never respect, or trust him. And it upsets me to know that my tax dollars will continue to pay his salary ! The first thing that he did on this property was to demolish a house that is listed on the historical site map for  Alachua County now tell me that people don’t turn their backs and act like they aren’t looking ! But no one in the city of Alachua would listen then, and they still don’t care..  $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

Commissioner Robert Wilford is getting a dose of his own medicine. He was so rude to me at one of the City of Alachua Commission meeting about the Dollar General Store site. I ask them to please take more time in their final  decision about that site being across from The Historical Hague Cemetery and The Historical Methodist Church. I expressed that I didn’t want a Dollar General Store in the Hague Community or across from the cemetery and church property. It just doesn’t fit in to the rural cluster community format.

Well now Robert Wilford is  doing the same dance about the “Bio-Mess” making statements like quote “ that I purchased a home in the quiet Turkey Creek Golf (not) Community, and now my world is turned up side down.” I well understand the feeling, because I feel that the quiet Community of Hague and it’s Historical values (which are many) will never be the same ! ! !

Please don’t miss- understand ;I am very all against the “Bio-Mess”. It affects me also. Now he should better understand my plea to Alachua City Commission ,and no one listened !

Dee W. Watson, President, Historical Hague Community Cemetery Association, Inc.

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