Lafarge says… they’ve got public support?
Mar 15, 2011 9:38 am
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Lafarge has its own website geared to "the facts" of its "modernization plans" for its Ravena plant, from which this image is taken."][/caption]Hilary Hawke of the Daily Mail and Register-Star reports that Lafarge Environmental Manager John Reagan is touting his company’s optimism in light of the recent release of comments to the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Draft Environmental Impact Study for the Ravena cement plant’s Title V Air and State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits, part of an expansion plan that’s drawn quite a bit of media attention, and heated opposition from key environmental groups. The DEIS being commented on covers the old and new EPA regulations for the existing plant, as well as the proposed new plant on Route 9W in Ravena. According to a preliminary list of roughly 800 comments to the DEC, Lafarge has pointed out that the vast majority of those submitted support the Lafarge Modernization Project. However, Hawke points out that “many respondents filed form letters citing the new plant’s anticipated positive effect on air quality, reduction of fuel and energy consumption, retention of high-paying jobs and introduction of hundreds of high-wage temporary construction jobs to the region.” Seven senators, nine assemblymen, three local chambers of commerce and dozens of businesses also submitted letters of endorsement while roughly two dozen e-mails and letters were critical of the project, and included scientific data backing up such positions. Among those urging more DEC oversight were Jeffrey Baker of Young/Sommer LLC, the attorneys representing the environmental groups CASE and Freiends of Hudson, Hawke reports. Baker, who also serves as counsel to the Coalition of Watershed Towns in the Catskills, prefaced a 19-page document by stating while his clients supported the Lafarge plant modernization project they had multiple concerns about issues ranging from fugitive dust to the plant’s overall appearance. Lafarge noted that the DEC released the transcript of the comments to them, in both written and oral form, because the “DEC needs our input in preparing the responsiveness summary.” Reagan said Lafarge hopes to have their air permit approval by the end of summer, 2011. At that point the company would begin placing orders for equipment, draw up the final design and hopefully begin renovation/expansion construction in 2012 with an anticipated finish date of sometime in 2014 and production start up in 2015.