An environmental group battling Holcim Inc. over the company’s plan to burn tires says that Gov. Brian Schweitzer is turning his back on protecting the environment. To make its point, the Montana Environmental Information Center of Helena noted the state’s recent decision allowing Holcim to continue using waste slag at its Trident cement plant while it waits for an environmental study to be completed.
The group also criticized Schweitzer, a Democrat, for an energy symposium he is hosting in Bozeman later this year, saying the conference is skewed toward nonrenewable energy.
MEIC has worked with Montanans Against Toxic Burning of Bozeman to oppose Holcim’s plan to burn tires for fuel at its cement kiln outside Three Forks. It was also instrumental in making public the fact Holcim was shipping in slag waste from a Canadian smelter. But against MEIC’s wishes, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality allowed Holcim to continue using slag from a second smelter in East Helena, although the company agreed to stop the Canadian shipments. Jensen said using the slag is illegal because Holcim doesn’t have the necessary air-quality permit.