Holcim Inc was granted a draft clean air permit by the state’s Air Pollution Control programme for its proposed works just in Genevieve County. The 108-page permit details operational specifications for the plant and related quarry with allowable pollution levels, record keeping and air monitoring requirements.
The permit proposal received support from local officials, legislators and others, who had been calling on the state to approve the document, saying the new plant would bring needed jobs to the area.
"We are very excited," said Nancy Tully, Holcim spokeswoman. "We believe this reaffirms what we and supporters have said all along - that we will be providing good-paying jobs in an environmentally sound way." The project includes a Mississippi River harbour for barges to deliver coal to the plant and take finished cement to its markets.
The draft permit, which has been in negotiation for over a year, requires the use of NOx abatement equipment to reduce the potential for ozone pollution, a problem in the St Louis area. But environmental groups, which have yet to see the document, have questioned the effectiveness of the equipment concerned and have called for the installation of specific pollution control technology (selective catalytic reduction). However, state agency programme director Leanne Tippett said it received reports from Holcim that the technology would not be feasible and that a different system based on selective non-catalytic reduction technology would be installed instead.
Holcim will be able to comment on the draft and suggest changes during the following 10 days after which a new draft will be made public for comment. A public hearing is also expected before the final permit is issued.