Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - November 18, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Thi* Cedar Rapids Gazette: Mon , Nov. 18. 1874
Gazette Photo by john MclvorShort-Changed
Mother Nature short-changed one of her children, it seems. This cottontail entered the world short one ear, according to Lester Johnson, Robbins, who has watched the bunny since its infancy. Johnson said the rabbit's litter-mates all have the required number of ears. He caught this oddity in a trap he built and like other rabbits and squirrels he has caught, he probably will transport it some distance away to a timbered area and release it.
Iowa Sitting on Coal; Problem Is High Sulphur Content
By Val Corky
DKS MOINES (AI') -
There’s plenty of coal under Iowa, but little of it will be us«m1 to meet the state's fuel needs before 1985, the state mining inspector predicts Marv Ross says Iowa coal is Hood coal as far as its energy output is concerned "It’s just as good as Illinois and Missouri coal and it's better than western coal (now used extensively in the state) in terms of BTC,” he said BTC, short for British Thermal I nits. is the measure of energy in any given fuel Washed Iowa coal can measure up to 11,000 BTI' lier pound, Ross said, while west
ern coal usually runs 9,500 to 9,700.
The problem with Iowa coal, of course, is the sulphur content The sulphur thrown off when the coal is burned pollutes the air
Ross says some Iowa coal spot checks up to nine percent sulphur, but some other state coal has only four-to-four-and-one half percent sulphur content
The mining inspector says this coal can easily lie reduced to less than three percent sulphur with treatment, low enough, he says, to satisfy the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
However, it isn’t enough to satisfy the Iowa air pollution control commission.
That commission will require all existing coal-fired plants to use fuel with less than twn-and-one-half percent sulphur content by next July Newly constructed plants will tie limited to just over one-half percent sulphur in coal they use
"If state schedules for air quality are adhered to. it won’t, be long before hall the coal produced in the United States will be outlawed,” Ross said
He doesn't think the stru t state standards will stand
"I think there will be public
Legislative Unit Proposes Sweeping Changes In
By Harrison Weber
DES MOINES (11) I * A) - A legislative study committee is recommending sweeping changes in the Iowa public employes’ retirement system
Perhaps most pertinent is a suggestion that the contribution system be changed to a two-for-one ratio with the employer paying $2 for each $! of employe contribution
Approximately 125.(KHI public employes are presently cov ered by I PERS Each governmental employe at the state, county and local level contributes 3.5 percent of his or her salary, up to $10,800, into I PERS. The unit of government matches this 3.5 percent contribution
Under the committee's proposal which will be presented lo the legislature when it meets in January, IPERS would be integrated with social security.
Governmental employes, right along, have been paying social security taxes and have received social security benefits in addition to those under IPERS.
But under this plan, a person would receive "combined benefits" equaling Sh per
cent of his or her salary lor the highet five of the last ten years of employment after 3(1 years’ experience
The laments include S3 1/3 percent from social security, the remainder from IPERS This means an individual’s contribution to IPERS would rise about I percent to 4 5 percent, while the employer s share would jump from 3 5 to approximately 9 percent
Part of the package calls for removing the $10,800 ceiling so that contributions are made on the person's entire salary.
Overall cost of this program is pegged at Still million annually with employers paying most of it, which could result in substantial property tax increases statewide.
In addition, the committee chaired by Sen. Warren Curtis (R-Cherokee), is also recommending tha the 23.(MMI employes already retired under IPERS receive a 50 percent increase in benefits
It s estimated this would amount to $W-$I5 million the first year and a decreasing amount thereafter; the money, under the committee's proposal, would come from the state’s general fund
pressure for state standards to be relaxed.” Ross said. "Oth erwise, there won’t ben enough electricity to do who we want to do. Blackouts aren’t very popular."
Meanwhile, Iowa State university is working on a $3 million project to find a way to further reduce the sulphur content of Iowa coal.
Relaxing the standards or finding a way to mince the sulphur content will immediately mean an increase in mining of Iowa coal, Ross said
That will lake time He predicts few mines will even reach the planning stage before the energy crunch hits Iowa hard.
Currently, coal mining is at a low ebb in Iowa
Much Iowa coal was produced during World war I The peak was in 1917 when nine million tons were mined in the state
As late as 1972, there were ll producing coal mines in Iowa.
But now there are only seven — two underground and five strip mines And Ross estimated less than HIK!,(Kid tons of coal were mined in the state last year.
Some large coal companies are now getting interested in Iowa coal and are likely eventually to begin large mining operations in the state, Ross said.
There’s a lot of coal here, he said And a lot of it could be mined economically — although no one seems to know just how much could be taken out of the ground at a profit.
"The Geological Survey says (i 5 bilion tons,” Ross said. "It could be as high as 21 billion tons. I ve seen the figure of 1.8 billion tons in
seams more than 42 inches thick It all depends on how we mine it.”
Ross predicts that some day coal will be mined without sending men down after it Then it will be economical to mine many of the small seams in Iowa
But Iowa will need that coal before then And there is where some of the problems lie
"Two big factors right now are trained men and equipment,” he said "The lead time for opening up a strip mine is pretty close to six years,” Ross said The only way this could be reduced is if a large company had equipment on order for another area and diverted it to Iowa. This would reduce the lead time to only two to three years.
One large company is now testing in Iowa. Ross said It has spent $300,000 apd its geologist is asking for another $300 000 for further tests.
If it decides to go ahead, it could open a mine within a few years because it does have equipment that will be free in about two years, Ross said.
Not Enough But that is the only large mine likely to open in the state soon, he said That mine wouldn’t increase th** state's coal production enough "We’re producing now about ten percent of what we use,” Ross said
"If all mterruptable gas customers are cut off natural gas by 1978 (as Northern Natural (ias Co. says they will). I figure we are going to need 14 million tons of coal (a year)-more than twice what we’re using today ”
Ross predicts there will be few new mines in the planning stage before 1978
"Tremendous capital is required to open a large mine,” he said "The coal companies must have a firm contract to take the production before the mines are financed ”
When the large users of natural gas in Iowa are cut off, any coal not produced in the state will have to be shipped in
Ross says it will take 1.4(H) freight train loads to ship the additional seven million tons of coal into the state that will be needed He says the coal cars will not be available.
"I recently talked to a major producer of hopper ears, he said “They have sold everything they can produce until 1980
"It s going to be real tough by 1978 to find coal. "Then the pressure will be on And it will take another six or seven years — until 1985 — before we start producing as much of our own coal as we can.”
And he says some 185.(HH) people will have to be trained to mine that coal — and mining engineers will have to be found
In one recent year, only 125 mining engineers were graduated in this country and one company wanted 8(1 of them, Ross said One reason Iowa coal is being neglected is there are other areas of the country more attractive to the large mining companies But the mining inspector said there will be a large market for coal in the state in a few years. And when that happens, it will be more profitable to produce it here than bring it in "That will make Iowa a very attractive market." Ross said.
Two Iowans Lose Lives In Weekend Accidents
Bv The Associated Press
Two Iowans have lost their lives rn weekend traffic accidents and an Illinois man was killed in a crash on a Mississippi river bridge.
A one-car accident resulted in the death of Janeile Walter, 14, rural Elkhorn Authorities said the girl’s car left the road and careened into a ditch late Saturday night.
Rolierta Wisdom, 38. Cedar Rapids, was killed Saturday when the car in which she rode collided with a Chicago & North Western freight train at a rail crossing in Cedar Rap-
Board Informed Of Price Hikes
WAI KON — Notices of price increases in gas and milk were announced to Allamakee Community school district directors at their November met*ting
People's Natural (ias will increase its price 7 54 cents per thousand cubic feet by February; Bob Mac s Dairy has scheduled a November increase of two tenths-of-a-cent per half pint for milk.
The superintendent was authorized to approve procedures necessary for completion of the shop building addition at senior high and to arrange to rent St. Patrick’s gym to accommodate athletic department groups, st. Patrick's high school has been closed for Urns* years.
ids. Police said they believe Robert Franks. 42, Cedar Rapids, was driving the car when it skidded into the fourth freight car of the train Franks was listed in serious to critical condition after the crash,
An East Dubuque, 111 , man. Lloyd Brady Jr., 28, was killed Saturday in a two-vehi-ele head-on collision that tied up traffic two hours on ihc Julien Dubuque bridge at East Dubuque. HI. Authorities said the ear driven by Brady collided with a semi-trailer truck as Brady tried to pass two autos on the bridge spanning the Mississippi river.
Assassination Is Subject of Luther Event
DECORAH - "Who Killed JKK?", a presentation offering an explanation of the events surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy. will Im* given at Luther college Friday at 8 pm. in the Held house Admission is $1 JMT person.
The presentation is sponsored bv Luther's lecture and fine arts committee It lasts about an hour and-a-half and is followed by a question-answer period
One of the group of mde-)M*ndent researchers. Harvey Yazijian, will Im* the featured speaker at Luther.
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