SP particulate a dirty shame

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On Saturday, Jan. 7 I had turned the corner of O Street walking east on Nicolas Road when I immediately noticed huge plumes of black particulate coming from the Sierra Pacific property. After billowing up behind a large black pile, it was caught by the gusty north wind, which blew it south through the Lincoln High School stadium area and on through the rest of town. How many unsuspecting innocent Lincolnites unknowingly became targets of the harmful particulates? How many young girls out playing softball on the Lincoln High field or the very young or old with heart, lung and breathing disorders, inhaled particulate from the black cloud? This is nothing new. Ten years ago I notified Sierra Pacific of the same problem. In 2007 Sierra Pacific paid out $13 million to settle multiple air quality violations. It seems like a neverending disregard for the health of the people of Lincoln. Rather than take responsibility for Saturday’s pollution, SP spokesman Mark Luster told me that the blame belongs to a subcontractor using SP byproducts to create soil amendments. Déjà vu, that was exactly what SP told me 10 years ago. What bothers me is why is this allowed to continue? The multi-million dollar mill is a state-of-the-art highly efficient processor of raw lumber. The cogeneration plant earns SP millions by selling electricity. SP’s chairman, Red Emmerson, is a billionaire. SP is the largest private landowner in North America. Yet with all those resources, all that capital, all those millions at its disposal, all those lost millions from being sued, SP apparently will not spend a relative pittance to contain the dispersion of their byproducts here in Lincoln. Don Stewart, Lincoln