|Incinerator company presses its case|
|The Press - News|
|Written by Joel Addington|
|Thursday, 26 April 2012 15:02|
Integrated Waste Management Systems, the company with plans to build a medical waste incinerator east of Macclenny, has not been deterred by opposition to the project from some residents and the lack of support among county commissioners.
The company recently crafted a lengthy report addressing environmental concerns expressed during public hearings in late March and early April.
The 25-page document (link to full document below) was sent to the Baker County Commission along with a summary flyer and letter from Integrated Waste Management Systems [IWMS] president Marvin Jay Barry on April 16, about 45 minutes before commissioners had their second monthly meeting.
IWMS aims to construct and operate up to four incinerators, each burning a maximum of 30 tons of medical waste per day, which is equal to 4-5 tractor trailers, according to the report dated April 13 and labeled “Air Quality Technical Response Document.”
Within hours of the company submitting the information by e-mail, Commissioner Michael Crews voiced his opposition to the project publicly at the Monday night board meeting. Three other commissioners contacted by The Press the next day said they either did not favor the company’s plans or were undecided, but all wanted to vote on the project sooner rather than later.
In his letter to commissioners, Mr. Barry decried the use of “inaccurate information and fear mongering to turn public officials against what I believe represents a tremendous opportunity for the citizens of Baker County.”
Mr. Barry’s letter, dated April 17 but sent the day before, reminded commissioners that work on the estimated $22 million project began more than a year ago and local officials welcomed the proposed incinerator project and its economic impact, which the company estimates at $200 million through build-out.
“The process has been expensive, long and complex — but also very positive until recent weeks,” Mr. Barry wrote. “In the days since the first public hearings our company has been demonized, our representatives have been called liars and my personal integrity has been called into question ...
“My team of advisors now tells me that some members of the board would prefer this project to quietly go away ... We can accept losing if board members honestly decide, based on the facts, that your duty as representatives of your constituents demands that you deny our application.”
County Manager C.J. Thompson said this week that IMWS representatives want to meet with county commissioners individually, but otherwise there’s been no progress on the application.
He said no vote related to proposed facility, or the independent third-party review of IWMS’ plans the company has agreed to fund, is expected during the county commission’s next meeting on May 1.
The air quality report itself and the one-page flyer that arrived on April 16 both attempt to explain the potential air quality impacts, more stringent regulatory limits on air pollution from medical waste incinerators set to take effect in 2014 and the myths surrounding both.
For instance, the report states the regulated pollutants expected from the facility will account for one-tenth of a percent (0.1%) of the total emissions and that the new pollution limits are 46 to 99 percent lower, depending on the specific pollutant, than current limits created in 1997.
It also points out other permitted and non-permitted sources of air pollution that exist today in Baker County like backyard trash burning and the joint Macclenny-county air curtain burner north of the city, which is allowed to incinerate animal carcasses.
One of the IWMS project’s more vocal critics, Macclenny resident Allison Broughton, said this week the company’s recent pushback against concerns about the environmental risks associated with the proposed incinerator, haven’t changed her opinion.
She concedes much of the information circulating among opponents of the project, most of it found online, relates to existing medical waste incinerators, not new facilities meeting the latest emission caps.
“But we don’t know what 2014 holds or what the impact will be from the new standards,” Mrs. Broughton said. “It’s hard to say with absolute certainty you can trust something that adheres to a future date. They keep pushing 2014, but it’s 2012 right now and so far what we know is not good.”IWMS Air Quality Technical Response Document 041312 (2)
|Last Updated on Thursday, 26 April 2012 15:08|