Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Public comment period on permit renewal for L'Anse Warden plant extended; DEQ to hold public hearing

MARQUETTE -- The public comment period for the draft renewal of a Renewable Operating Permit (ROP) to be issued to the L'Anse Warden Electric Company, LLC, for their biomass plant in L'Anse, Mich., has been extended beyond the original Sept. 9, 2015, deadline. Based on requests from the public, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has decided to hold a public hearing on the draft ROP. The time and place for the public hearing has yet to be announced.

According to Chris Hare, DEQ Air Quality Division acting district supervisor and decision maker on the ROP, the DEQ will continue to accept written comments until the time of the public hearing. Public comments during the hearing will also be considered. Since a public hearing must be announced 30 days in advance, Hare noted, this hearing could take place in late October.

While some concerned citizens have complained about air pollution from the L'Anse Warden plant and some question the burning of tires and railroad ties in the plant, the ROP does not give the DEQ authority to say the company can't burn what they're permitted to burn, Hare explained.*

"What we can do is possibly look at the permit to see if they're  meeting emission requirements," Hare said.

The ROP, which is renewed every five years, includes required monitoring, testing and record keeping.

During a presentation in April 2015 at the Portage Lake District Library, two concerned citizens -- Diane Miller and Catherine Andrews -- spoke about reports of air pollution from the plant and its potential effects on children playing in the vicinity.**

Ed Lancaster is the inspector for the permit. Written comments should be addressed to Lancaster's attention at the following office address: Upper Peninsula District Office, Department of Environmental Quality, Air Quality Division, 1504 West Washington St., Marquette, MI 49855 (Phone: 906-228-4853).

* Click here and scroll down to the ninth item, L'Anse Warden Electric Company, for links to information about the ROP. Click here for the Aug. 10, 2015, Draft ROP for the L'Anse Warden plant.

** Watch for an article on this issue, coming soon.

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