Sunday, July 23, 2017

MDEQ to hold public informational meeting, hearing on L'Anse Warden plant permits July 26; comment deadline is July 26

During the Sept. 28, 2016, MDEQ public hearing on the L'Anse Warden Electric Company's proposed Consent Order and proposed Permit to Install (PTI), Linda Rulison (standing at right), Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK) president, presents comments to MDEQ officials. The hearing was held in L'Anse High School. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

LANSING -- The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is holding a public comment period until July 26, 2017, and a public hearing on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, for L'Anse Warden Electric Company's (LWEC) proposed temporary combustion of engineered fuel pellets in their existing boiler.

Purpose of public comment period and hearing

The temporary combustion period will be for a maximum of 180 days. The "biomass" facility is located at 157 South Main Street, L'Anse, Michigan. The public comment period and hearing are to allow all interested parties the opportunity to comment on the MDEQ's proposed conditional approval of a Permit to Install (PTI). According to MDEQ, it has been preliminarily determined that the temporary combustion of engineered fuel pellets in the boiler will not violate any of the MDEQ's rules nor the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

The L'Anse Warden Electric Company (LWEC) "biomass" plant in L'Anse, Michigan, has been the subject of citizen complaints about pollution, especially non-compliance with air quality standards. At right is the Falls River, which flows into Lake Superior. (Keweenaw Now file photo © and courtesy Horst Schmidt)

The fuel pellets are made of non-recyclable paper, label, and packaging waste. LWEC wants to replace a portion of the current fuel mix that is typically combusted in the boiler with the fuel pellets. To continue to comply with their existing emission limits, and to reduce emissions of acid gases such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and hydrogen chloride (HCl), LWEC is proposing to install an additional type of pollution control, called sorbent injection. The sorbent injection system will directly inject a material into the boiler's exhaust stream prior to the particulate control device. The material will neutralize a portion of the acid gas emissions.*

The MDEQ is also holding a simultaneous public comment period for a proposed draft Renewable Operating Permit (ROP) renewal application, No. MI-ROP-B4260-20XX, for L'Anse Warden Electric Company. Information concerning the ROP renewal comment period is available here. 

An informational session and public hearing will be held on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, at the L'Anse High School, 201 North 4th Street, L'Anse, Michigan. The informational session will begin at 6 p.m., at which time the AQD staff will be available to answer questions. The public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. This information session and public hearing will address both the PTI application and the ROP renewal application. The sole purpose of the public hearing will be to take formal testimony on the record.

Following the Sept. 7, 2016, MDEQ informational meeting on the L'Anse Warden plant, FOLK members Doug Welker, left, and Catherine Andrews chat with DEQ Toxicologist Michael Depa, right, and DEQ Permitting Engineer John Vial, both from the Air Quality Division Lansing office. The purpose of last year's meeting, held at L'Anse High School, was to take questions from the public related to the Administrative Consent Order based on the company's permit violations of Hydrogen Chloride (HCL) emission limits and fugitive dust in the community. Click here for Keweenaw Now's video report on that meeting. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Individuals needing accommodations for effective participation at the hearing should contact Ms. Lisa Shooltz at 517-284-6793 one week in advance to request mobility, visual, hearing, or other assistance.

MDEQ Fact Sheets, Permit Conditions

Copies of the MDEQ's fact sheet(s) and proposed permit conditions are available for review at the following locations, or you may request a copy be mailed to you by calling 517-284-6793. Please reference PTI Application Number 53-17:
MARQUETTE: MDEQ, AQD, 1504 West Washington Street, (Phone: 906-250-5124)
LANSING: MDEQ, AQD, Constitution Hall, 525West Allegan Street, (Phone: 517-284-6793)
VILLAGE OF L'ANSE: Village Hall, 101 North Main Street (Phone: 906-524-6116)

The public is encouraged to present written views on the proposed permit action. Written comments should be sent to Ms. Annette Switzer, Permit Section Manager, MDEQ, AQD, P.O. Box 30260, Lansing, Michigan, 48909-7760. Comments may also be submitted from the webpage (click on "Submit Comment" under the L'Anse Warden Electric Company, Permit to Install No. 53-17 listing). All statements received by July 26, 2017, will be considered by the decision-maker prior to final permit action.

After careful review  of  any  relevant  comments  made  during  the public comment period and hearing, the MDEQ's Air Quality Division (AQD) may make the appropriate changes to the draft ROP and submit it to the EPA to begin their 45-day review of the permit.

The  AQD  will  review  all  comments  received during  the  public  comment  period  and  public  hearing and  will  decide  whether  to  approve  or  deny  the proposed PTI and draft ROP. If approved, the AQD may decide to add or change permit conditions based on the comments.*

* Click here for MDEQ Air Quality Division's current Proposed Project Summary for the L'Anse Warden Plant.

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