In response to the letter by Michael Koonce, president of Advanced Specialty Gases, Inc. in the Nevada Appeal on July 1:
Mr. Koonce stated in his letter that no one was more concerned than ASG for the safety of the plant. If this is true, why did the plant management fail to install a knock-out pot as recommended after the 1998 incident involving a spill of liquid HF that, according to statements by ASG employees, leaked through building ventilation ducting and spilled onto cell room floor (NDEP pg. 3); operate with corroded rupture discs and ignore instrumentation which indicated rupture disc components damaged in the July 30, 2000 explosion, and not complying with applicable codes when installing process pipe and tubing since 1997 (NDEP pg.3)?
Above information is taken from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection's notice of alleged violations.
If this plant is concerned about safety, why did the plant not have an alarm system to warn people of Dayton Valley about the August 1998 spill, the March 17, 2000 incident or the July 30, 2000 explosion?
In his letter, Mr. Koonce stated that ASG maintains a highly-trained emergency response team to handle on-site emergencies. Where were they on July 30? There were only three employees on-site at the time of the explosion. Employees at ASG did not have refresher Hazmat training during the year 2000 (NDPE pg. 13).
Mr. Koonce, you say you are working hard to guarantee that another incident will never happen. The only way that guarantee can be made is never to reopen Advanced Specialty Gases.
Please make a trip to the top of one of our mountains and look down on your gas plant, and then look at the hundreds of homes surrounding it. Stay up there long enough to watch over 400 children playing in the school yard. Search your heart and then ask yourself if a plant that handles deadly and toxic gases belongs in this valley.