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Environment


Permit for incinerator still up in the air
The original deadline for public comments has been extended to allow more dialogue between citizens and EPA
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE
and GRANT ENGLE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
In The Region:

The Ohio EPA has extended its deadline for the public to comment on whether they want the first of a new kind of waste-to-energy plant built on Cleveland’s west side. But WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that has not soothed the concerns of environmentalists.  

M.L. Schultze reports

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An air permit from the Ohio EPA is a milestone in the proposed construction of what’s called a gasification plant. It would use a new technology to convert trash into electricity. And environmentalists are raising big concerns about toxic air pollution.

In an interview outside the first public hearing on the permit Monday night, EPA spokesman Mike Settles said the EPA values the opinions and insights of citizens.

 

 “We will take the transcript that comes out of tonight’s meeting and any additional public comment received over the next few weeks, and we’ll be thoroughly going through it.  We’re going to be responding to those questions and making any changes if needed, or making a recommendation to approve it as is, or deny it.  That will go to our director for a final decision.”

 

The plant would convert waste to into fuel pellets, then gasify the fuel pellets to generate electricity. It would be the first such plant in the U.S.

Cleveland officials visited a similar plant in Japan.

Stuart Greenberg of Environmental Health Watch, said the EPA should extend its deadline  even further so citizens have a chance to absorb information about a complex technology.

 

“It’s not enough time because it’s a highly technical process to write these permits and interpret them and critique them.  In this case, there’s a great deal of detail that’s not in the permit.”

The original deadline for submitting public comments was this Friday, but it has been pushed back to Jan. 26.

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