Public comments are being accepted about the state’s issuance of a draft clean-air permit for a company that wants to build the nation’s largest cement plant on the Mississippi River’s banks. Issued Jan. 23 in preliminary form, the draft air-pollution permit would allow Swiss-based Holcim to build the cement plant in Ste. Genevieve County, about 35 miles south of St. Louis. Public comments will be accepted through March 29, when the state Department of Natural Resources will stage a public hearing. About 1,600 acres of nearby rolling woodland would be quarried over the next 100 years to provide the requisite limestone.
The Missouri Coalition for the Environment has said the Holcim plant would more than double the production of ozone-forming pollutants in Ste. Genevieve County. The group says the plant yearly would generate 26,000t of regulated pollutants and 8,000t of pollutants that form ozone. But Holcim has said that the new plant will have state-of-the-art pollution-control equipment.