Glens Falls, N.Y., officials and local residents called on the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to extend the public comment period for revisions to Lehigh Northeast Cement Co.’s air permit, reported The Post-Star. The plant is seeking approval to use raggertail – a mix of 60 percent plastic and 40 percent paper/cardboard fiber – as alternative fuel.
On Dec. 24, 2018, through a notice of complete application, the agency extended the comment period to Jan. 10, 2019. It was originally to end on Dec. 21, 2018.
“Lehigh’s use of this fuel will keep the plant’s air emission within allowable regulatory limits, which have been determined by federal and state regulators to be protective of human health and the environment,” said John Brodt, vice president of Behan Communications and spokesman for Lehigh, in an email to The Post-Star. “The use of the fuel will also reduce our plant’s operating costs and improve our competitiveness in a very challenging, global cement market.”
Before preparing its permit modification application, Lehigh conducted raggertail test burns in the summer of 2017 with the permission of the DEC and performed air emissions tests to compare against the emissions from burning coal. These tests found the use of raggertail as a partial fossil fuels substitute resulted in a reduction in total air emissions from the Glens Falls plant, with decreased emission levels for some constituents and only nominal increases in others. Lehigh submitted a detailed technical report on those tests to DEC.
DEC granted tentative approval and will base a final decision after the public comment period.