The whistle blower the company is trying to discredit and destroy has documented many more deceptions. His name is Brett Wingo. He was project manager for Engineering and Procurement for the gasifier. In that role he managed the successful response to a serious refractory problem in 2012. It threatened the project schedule and safety. The refractory insulates the reactor’s metal shell from the 1800 F burning lignite and corrosive toxic gases under high pressure. If the refractory fails, the metal shell could melt with catastrophic consequences.
He received a “Southern Excellence Award” and bonuses for his good work and more responsibility: Project Manager over Startup Schedule.
No good deed goes unpunished. He took his new responsibility seriously. Too seriously. He recognized that the 2014 commercial operation target date was unrealistic, unachievable and unsafe. He thought his superiors would like to know and make appropriate adjustments. He was wrong. They didn’t. So he went direct to Southern’s CEO. Seems he already knew. Bad career move for Wingo. He was sidelined, muzzled, put on ice, fired, and blackballed. OSHA has ruled the firing unjustified and illegal. But it hasn’t found Wingo a job.
These events were reported in detail in a recent two page spread in the New York Times. I have read the details and have talked with Wingo. For what it’s worth, I think he’s credible. I don’t think the company is.
Subsequent events have proved Wingo right. It’s 2016. Still no commercial operation. Gasifier startup has slipped another month – at least. The company needs some good news. So it makes it up.