A controversial plan to allow Lafarge Canada’s Brookfield, Nova Scotia, cement plant to burn tires as fuel was issued industrial approval by the province’s environment department, reported the Ottawa Citizen. The company is allowed to conduct a one-year pilot project to incinerate tires at the plant, but must monitor air quality at regular intervals when the kiln is operating as well as monitor groundwater and surface water in the area.

Lafarge originally sought out approval for a three-year project, however the department limited it to a single year to ensure terms and conditions would be met. A similar request in 2007 was denied by the province after an advisory committee recommended recycling scrap tires rather than incinerating them.

The company plans to burn about 20 metric tons of tires a day – as much as 5,200 metric tons annually – in place of fossil fuels. Under the plan, the province’s waste diversion agency is expected to shift a supply of about 280,000 tires a year to Lafarge.

Lafarge Canada spokeswoman Karine Cousineau told the Ottawa Citizen that the company was looking forward to working with Dalhousie University researchers and the community to “assess the use of scrap tires as a circular economy solution.”

“Based on the work conducted so far by the research team, we expect to see a 15 percent reduction in emissions of NOx and a 30 percent CO2 reduction for every [metric ton] of coal replaced. Our pilot will allow us to show the benefits found through the Dalhousie University research in a real world, Nova Scotian context,” Cousineau explained

Project construction is planned for the fall and winter with a startup scheduled for early spring.

The province’s industrial approval follows a court decision last March that dismissed a residents’ group’s bid for a judicial review of separate environmental approval.

Justice James Chipman of the provincial Supreme Court said the environment minister’s approval of the tire-burning project was reasonable. He noted that the approval process involved the consideration and evaluation of risks, and that the minister was satisfied that any adverse effects or significant environmental effects could be adequately mitigated.

The court challenge was launched by five residents who live near the Brookfield plant. It claimed the Nova Scotia government’s approval of the project violated the province’s Environment Act.

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