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LafargeHolcim says Coeymans Clean Air law is flawed, town appoints committee to study it

Aug 07, 2020 3:15 pm
Melanie Lekocevic and Kate Lisa are reporting for Capital Region Independent Media legal action taken by Wheelabrator in Maryland has prompted a second look at the Coeymans Clean Air Law. The law, adopted by the town in March 2019, was originally proposed in July 2018 in response to Mustang Renewable Power Ventures’ proposal to import every year 116,000 tons of solid waste, including tires, from 70 Connecticut towns and to incinerate the material in a kiln at the LafargeHolcim cement plant on Route 9W. Under the law, waste disposal facilities are prohibited from processing more than 25 tons of waste in any 24-hour period; a facility must have a Continuous Emission Monitoring System to monitor the emissions of 19 pollutants and the data must be published online in real time. LafargeHolcim is now pushing back on the law. “We received a letter from Lafarge recently regarding a recent law that was very similar to our Clean Air Law that was overturned in Baltimore, Maryland, by the district court,” Town Supervisor George McHugh said at the July 23 meeting of the Coeymans Town Board. LafargeHolcim Vice President Michael Nixon wrote in the letter, “We feel the time has come to take a stronger, more active approach to defending our rights. In addition to being bad policy, the town’s Clean Air Law is unlawful. It fails to meet procedural requirements, it is preempted by federal and state law, and it is unconstitutional, arbitrary and lacks any factual basis.” Nixon also claims the town’s Clean Air Law “singles out one facility for disparate treatment.” The town board July 23 created a three-person committee to look at the local law, as well as the issues raised by the company, and appointed Marisa Tutay, a teacher in the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District; David Kunz, a lawyer with an practice in Albany; and Steve Coye, a retired state employee to serve on the ad-hoc committee. None of the three appointees have worked for the cement company or have personal ties to it, McHugh said. Town board member Kenneth Burns said he is concerned the town law as it currently stands may not hold up in court. Town board members and Ravena village trustees toured the Lafarge plant last week to learn about the company’s plan to use tire-derived fuel. McHugh and Burns both support that plan. Read the full story in The Ravena News-Herald.
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