As a longtime Springs resident, runner and cyclist, I was disturbed to read your most recent editorial on the Drake scrubbers. It's bad enough we've been breathing hazardous air for decades, a fact which was kept well hidden from the citizens. Utilities knew the SO2 being emitted from Drake's stacks was harmful to human health, yet they did nothing about it until forced to by the EPA. Utilities then proceeded to make the worst business decision ever, by deciding on Neumann Systems' NeuStream, becoming Neumann's one and only customer on the planet. Drake's permit is in the process of being renewed, and during the public comment period dozens of citizens spoke up to insist Drake's boilers not be permitted to run when the scrubbers are down. It's very disappointing to learn of the many instances where exactly this occurred. Hundreds of public comments were sent during the permit review to ask that Drake meets the EPA standard for 1-hour limit on SO2. Currently the limit is a 30-day rolling average, which would allow the plant operate without scrubbing every other week and still comply. The Drake plant caught fire in 2014 and was down for weeks, yet the city continued to function fine. I call upon Utilities to immediately stop running the plant any time that the scrubbers are down! That will help our SO2 problem, but of course will do nothing for our NOx problem (nitrous oxides). The Neumann scrubbers were supposed to also scrub NOx, but that functionality was quietly removed. NOx is a key ozone-depleting substance, and in 2018 the Springs was close to being in non-attainment for Ozone. What that will do to our No. 1-city-to-live-in ranking?
— Nicole Rosa
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