More than two years after announcing plans to replace its ageing cement plant, which is the state’s second-largest source of airborne mercury, Lafarge North America has filed a completed application with the state Department of Environmental Conservation outlining consequences of the US$500m project.
A completed draft Environmental Impact Statement will be released on Wednesday, according to a notice also set to be issued Wednesday by the DEC that was obtained by the Times Union.
The EIS release will start a 90-day public comment period that will end Feb. 22.
"The public noticing of our Environmental Impact Statement is a key step in the process that will enable Lafarge to have an even cleaner and more efficient facility," said John Reagan, Lafarge’s Ravena environmental manager. "If approved, the project will help us remain competitive for the long term and protect good paying jobs right here in Upstate New York."
Lafarge announced plans in July 2008 to rebuild its two high-temperature kilns, which have been in place since the plant was built in 1962, with modern, less-polluting versions.
In September, Lafarge received a five-year extension of its federal air pollution permit from the DEC.
The new kilns will use a "dry" process that replaces a current system that incorporates large amounts of water, and will require replacing the existing 325ft stack with a 525ft "preheater/precalciner tower."
The new facility will be able to produce about 63 per cent more cement, up from 1.7Mta to 2.8Mta.
When Lafarge announced the project, the company indicated construction would begin in 2013 and take three years to complete.