Albany, NY - The state is poised to ban the use of mercury-tainted coal fly ash at a Ravena cement plant that is the state’s second largest source of airborne mercury pollution.
During a hearing Tuesday before state lawmakers, Department of Environmental Conservation Deputy Commissioner Valerie Washington said DEC will yank permission from Lafarge North America to use ash for cement making, something that’s gone on at the plant for at least two decades.
Washington told the state Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee that DEC will "eliminate" its earlier ruling -- known as a beneficial use determination -- allowing cement plants to use ash, a fine gray powdery waste left from burning coal at power plants.
"It’s a logical step," Washington said after the hearing. "Why should the state take (mercury) out of some stacks, just to allow it to come out of others?" She could not say when the ban will take effect, but "it’s in the works."
Mercury emissions have been under state scrutiny for more than a year at Lafarge, which is on Route 9W across from the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk high and middle schools, and about a mile from the Hudson River.