Greene County Commissioners recently gave Cemex, with its cement production plant in Fairborn, permission to apply for a Scrap Tyre Grant as the company prepares to burn scrap tyres as fuel. Officials forecast the project, if successful, will generate a combined $440,000 in state and federal taxes. But a local environmental group has cried foul, claiming "burning tires is a dangerous business resulting in increased emissions of some of the most toxic chemicals known," according to Dawn Falleur of Green Environmental Coalition. "Cemex does not have the pollution control equipment and pollution monitors that are necessary for it to act as a waste incinerator for tires." Company officials however said the plant will install monitors and other equipment to ensure that toxic chemicals are not released into the environment.
The US$350,000 grant, should it be awarded to Cemex, will offset some of the US$2.4m cost for equipment and other adjustments that are needed at the plant for officials to burn 1.62 million scrap tyres annually, officials said. Cemex also is required to obtain solid waste and air permits from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency prior to burning tyres. If approved by the OEPA to burn tyres, Cemex said its officials and an outside firm will closely monitor emissions to ensure the plant is operating within EPA regulations. Burning tyres will reduce the use of fossil fuel at the plant by 20 per cent, allowing officials to save just under US$1m on fuel annually, said Michael Henry, the plant’s environmental manager.