Public leaning toward closing plant

DAYTON -- Public testimony on the opening day of the Advanced Specialty Gases special use permit revocation hearing leaned heavily toward terminating operations at the controversial gas manufacturing plant.

The hearing continues today in Yerington.

Limited to five-minute presentations, nine of the 10 presentations voiced concerns to Lyon County commissioners over the safety of plant operations and the plant's threat to a nearby school and surrounding homes.

Dr. David Manuta, testifying on behalf of developer James Bawden, told the board hydrogen fluoride, used in the manufacture of nitrogen trifluoride, is a "horrendous health hazard that needs 100 percent vigilance." Even though the company meets basic compliance regulations, he claimed none of the employees except ASG Vice President Jurgen Poblotzki meet the condition of proper chemical training.

"It is my opinion that the special use permit must be revoked and that ASG not be allowed to continue to manufacture nitrogen trifluoride in Dayton, Nevada, or in any location in close proximity to residential areas," Manuta wrote to the board.

School Superintendent Nat Lommori said the school board, at the urging of Dayton residents, held a special meeting just prior to Tuesday's hearing to compose a statement regarding the plant.

The resulting letter requested commissioners thoroughly investigate operations and base their decision on the health, safety and welfare of the schools and community of Dayton.

In the event the commissioners approve continued operations at the plant, the board asked the company be required "to install a direct phone line and an alarm line to Sutro Elementary School, and a outside horn alarm system for the community that will simultaneously alarm the school and community upon any incident."

As the lone proponent to speak from the audience, Curtis Duff said the plant's chemical storage safety measures were "heads and above" what he had observed at his former place of employment.

Duff is plant manager at the company and is a member of the plant's hazardous materials team.

Attorneys representing Millard Development, Sutro Development and Chase Development will add their public comments following the conclusion of witness testimony.

Company attorneys will then be allowed to rebut public statements.


What: Hearing on Dayton gas plant permit

Where: Administrative Complex, 27 S. Main St. in Yerington

When: 2 p.m. today

For information: Call 775-577-5037 or 775-463-6531.


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