Proposed cement plant is Maine concern

Proposed cement plant is Maine concern
Published: 02 February 2004

The attorney general of Maine has written a letter to Gov George Pataki expressing "strong concerns" about the proposed St. Lawrence Cement plant in Greenport. The letter from Steve Rowe, released this week by the Poughkeepsie-based environmental group Scenic Hudson, expresses concern that pollution from the proposed coal-fired plant would threaten the health of Maine residents and hamper efforts by Northeastern states to meet federal clean-air requirements.

Rowe’s letter calls on the New York governor to "deny permits if the facility cannot comply with the strictest requirements of the Clean Air Act in order to protect all of the people in our region." Rowe cited the company’s own experts, who publicly stated, "The higher stack will disperse the effluents over a wider area. On most days, within six hours, the air mass has gone to Maine."  Rowe joins officials from other Northeast states who oppose the planned $320 million St. Lawrence Cement plant. Among them are Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Massachusetts state Senator Andrea Nuciforo.

St Lawrence Cement spokesman Dan Odescalchi said he believed Rowe would understand the benefits the project would bring to the region once he was made aware of the "replacement aspect" of the Greenport project. "This is a textbook example of what the Clean Air Act was intended to do - replace older facilities with cleaner, more environmentally friendly facilities," Odescalchi said. The Greenport project would replace the kiln operation at St. Lawrence’s aging facility in Catskill, across the Hudson River.

"The replacement plant will reduce the emissions of critical compounds, such as an 85 percent reduction of sulfur dioxide and a 95 percent reduction of lead and mercury," Odescalchi said. "Even combustion-related fine particulate matter, will be reduced by 41 per cent. This plant will comply with the strictest requirements of the Clean Air Act."