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Northern Energy too close to town

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It was with great interest that I read Carol Feineman’s Aug. 29 editorial (page A4, “We’re responsible for making sure Lincoln is safe from propane fires”) concerning the propane tank car fire that occurred last year. After reading the editorial, I was reminded of the evacuation of 4,800 homes and the closing a portion of Highway 65. I realized, once again, that the tank farm is alarmingly close to Lincoln High School, Highway 65 and downtown Lincoln. Too close, I think. Because of the damage that could have been caused if the tank farm exploded, I commissioned an expert to prepare a report relating to ordinance changes the city must make in order to refuse an extension of the Conditional Use permit for the facility when it is requested in 2013. I will share it with you and the City Council when I receive it. The city manager has indicated that the city cannot summarily revoke the conditional use permit that allows the tank farm to exist in its current site. He expresses concern that the city may have to compensate Northern Energy (New Hope Coal- an Australian Company)if the conditional use permit is terminated if it is determined that it has not received a reasonable return on its investment. However, this would seem to be a non-issue as the conditional use permit was originally granted in 1982 and their investment has been returned many-fold. I urge the City Council to study the public safety implications related to the tank farm remaining where it is and to determine it is feasible to cancel the conditional use permit for the good of our citizens’ lives and property. Pete Santina, Lincoln