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Letter: Big Stone II project will cut mercury emissions by half

Big Stone II project will cut mercury emissions by half

I'd like to respond to a letter ("Big Stone II won't provide 'clean' Energy") that appeared in the July 30 edition of the Becker County Record, submitted by Amanda Swanson. She makes points about Big Stone II that are not accurate.

Essentially, she said the new plant will add more pollution to Big Stone Lake, which is the source of the Minnesota River. Her main concern is mercury.

The existing Big Stone Plant now emits 189 pounds of mercury a year. Because we will integrate the existing plant with the new plant's emission control equipment, we will reduce mercury emissions coming from the Big Stone site to 70-90 pounds per year -- in other words, we'll double power output and cut mercury emissions by one-half or more.

We will do this by making the plants compliant with the Minnesota Mercury Emissions Reduction Act of 2006, which will be one of the nation's most stringent mercury control laws. Furthermore, we will reduce current emissions of sulfur dioxide by about 85 percent and realize a slight reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions too.

Concerning the Minnesota River, our water permit from the State of South Dakota allows us to take additional water from the lake. However, we will operate under the same restrictions as for the past 30 years. That is, when the lake level reaches 967 feet elevation, only limited pumping can occur. The modeling used in our water permit application showed the impact on the flow rate of the Minnesota River would be insignificant.

I hope this brief review of the environmental aspects of the Big Stone II Project assure your readers that we are just as concerned about clean air and clean water as Ms. Swanson. -- Dan Sharp, Communication Manger, Big Stone II Project

Weeds on DL beach

are unsightly

I, too, have a response to the weeds that have taken over Detroit Lake. We advertise, "DL with a mile long sandy beach, come visit Minnesota today." Huh? Have any of the local city leaders been past our beautiful beach lately? Better yet would they, their children or grandchildren, be willing to take a picture for the Minnesota magazine swimming in the weed infested area? I'm guessing not.

I was born and raised here. I've spent many years enjoying that beach and until a year ago, would take my grandkids down for the day to swim and play on the "beautiful sandy beach." Not anymore! Between the weeds and the swimmer's itch, it's worth the extra gas to drive a few more miles for clean, clear, weedless swimming areas. Right now, the weeds look like someone should be out there mowing. And it isn't any better further out in deep water, you just can't see them above the water.

What happened? I used to be proud of our lake and beach. Now I hear "oh, they are trying chemicals, which is better for the environment." Just bring back the big green-orange weed-cutting machine, please. Let's take a little more pride in our mile-long sandy beach, what good is it if our vacationers are appalled by the sight of it? And then we wonder why they use it as a bathtub? Sometimes, I think it looks 100 percent better in the winter with the fish houses on it, at least then the little evergreen trees look nice. -- Jill Larson, Detroit Lakes

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