Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content LETTERS: Neumann system right decision; trumping up controversy

Letters Published: March 10, 2014

Neumann system right decision

I want to take this opportunity to correct several unfortunate inaccuracies in the recent article about costs of scrubber technology at the Martin Drake Power Plant.

The article states that the cost of the Neumann scrubber has soared from $20 million to the current estimate of $131 million. That is simply not the case, which I explained to the reporter. The cost estimates quoted long before 2011 are not pertinent as there was no design work done and no agreement to build scrubbers at that point. Beginning in 2008 and running for three years, we conducted a rigorous multistaged testing process on the new technology that started small and scaled upward incrementally. Once the system was shown to be effective, an independent study and design was performed, which verified the system was scalable to the level needed and provided realistic cost estimates.

The cost of the Neumann system on which the decision was made was $121 million, which included $10 million in physical improvements to the Drake plant. The current $131 million cost to complete the project is due to additional engineering, equipment and material costs updated to 2013 dollars. Conventional scrubber technology was estimated by an independent study to cost $158 million at Drake, and would also need the additional $10 million in plant improvements.

The article also calls into the doubt the effectiveness of the technology to remove pollutants, and that we are in effect paying more for less. However, in testing the NSG system was more effective in removing sulfur dioxide (97 percent) than the conventional technology (90 percent). It was not necessary for the NSG system to remove more or other pollutants than SOx, including CO2, as there was no environmental or regulatory requirement.

Finally, the "royalties" on future sales were not a factor in the decision, nor were they needed to justify the decision economically. Such proceeds are, instead, an added benefit, and there is an agreement in place for 3 percent for 10 years beginning when the technology is licensed or sold to others. Regardless, using the NSG technology is a sound business decision for our community even if no future sales are made.

We remain confident in the decision that the Neumann technology is the correct option for the Drake Power Plant, and we are on schedule to comply with state emissions control requirements. The NSG system has lower capital, operating and maintenance costs, and uses less water and power than conventional systems.

Bruce McCormick, Colorado Springs Utilities

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An embarrassment to America

President Obama is incompetent, and detached from the reality of being the leader of the free world. He has done more to harm America, at home and abroad, than any president in my lifetime - FDR was president when I was born. For example, if his goal is to help the middle class, he is doing all the wrong things in every possible way: from the Keystone pipeline to minimum wage, to Obamacare.

On foreign policy, he clearly does not believe in peace through strength. His weakness and incompetence is glaringly obvious and is an embarrassment to America.

His imperial presidency must end. It's time for Congress to muster the courage to restore the Constitution's separation of powers.

Pat Francomano, Colorado Springs

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An election is coming up

So far it seems that Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act) has harmed many more people than it has helped. Because of this law, almost twice as many people have lost their existing health insurance, than have acquired new health insurance.

Please remember, this law was put into effect by the Democrats; no Republicans voted for it. There was no time to read it, and it appeared to be a bad, overreaching law. We have an election coming up this year. Please, please do not vote for a Democrat.

Boyce W. Wiltrout, Colorado Springs

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'Trumping' up a conflict

Re: Headline in the Local & State section of The Gazette, "Udall, White House at odds." Sen. Mark Udall D-Colo., past sycophantic Obama supporter (who voted for virtually every Obama/Democrat sponsored bill including the "Affordable Health care Act" and who in the past missed no opportunity for an Obama photo-op) is now trying to distance himself from an increasingly unpopular President Obama by "trumping" up a conflict with the president over an obscure CIA tactic.

It is disgusting what our government leaders will do to get elected, then vote their party line, which under President Obama is "sinking our ship of State!" Lets get together and start at our state level to bring back America. Vote Mark Udall out next November!

Dr. Laurence Pitcher, Colorado Springs

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Most of us abide by the rules

So United is doing one thing right - enforcing the carry on baggage size. While the majority of us abide by the size limitations for carry-on and pay to check large luggage, it is frustrating to see those bringing on those large bags and trying to cram in overheads taking up all the overhead bin room and delaying takeoff. But United (and all airlines).. should charge double for having to gate check these bags - not let them gate check for no fee - that doesn't accomplish anything. And while they are at it, they need to enforce the number of bags being carried on, too.

Again, most of us abide by the rules and it is frustrating to see others carrying on multiple bags.

Sue Gorden, Colorado Springs

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