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EPA extends comment period on coke plant

By Kelly J. Kaczala
Press News Editor

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has extended the public comment period on a new draft permit for a proposed coke plant in Oregon.

The EPA conducted a public hearing on the draft air permit for FDS Coke Plant (U.S. Coking Group LLC) on May 13 in council chambers.

"When the original draft action was issued, notice was given that comments concerning the draft action would be accepted until May 14," said Dina Pierce, of the Ohio EPA Public Interest Center. "On May 13, the EPA extended the public comment period for this permit from May 14 to May 24."

Citizens requested the extension as a result of new information received on May 3, according to Dina Pierce, of the Ohio EPA. "At the request of the public, Ohio EPA is further extending the public comment period for this permit from May 24 to June 3."

The new information, she said, is the company's request to adjust emissions calculations.

"The major change is they want to switch from a baghouse to a multiclone. The multiclone will be more effective than the baghouse in controlling emissions because of the extremely high temperatures and moisture."

The multiclone will increase some emissions while reducing others, she added.

The Ohio EPA issued a draft action permit-to-install to FDS Coke on April 13. If a final permit is issued, the company would be allowed to install four non-recovery coke batteries involving 240 coke ovens that would produce 1.34 million tons of furnace coke, 57,000 tons of nut coke and 43,000 tons of coke breeze per year, according to Pierce.

Joann Schiavone, an opponent of the coke plant, was among those at the public hearing requesting an extension to the comment period until after June 15, when new permits are required to comply with tougher U.S. EPA regulations.

"I was hoping we would know whether the coke plant is in compliance with the new regulations. I'm very disappointed it was not extended after June 15," she said.

Environmentalists are strongly opposed to the proposed $200 million coke plant, saying it will emit excessive pollution. They have also criticized the Ohio EPA for rushing through its review of the draft permit just weeks before Lucas County was listed among several counties in Ohio that did not meet EPA standards for air pollution.

The company, which plans to locate the plant near Millard Avenue and Otter Creek Road, says it will use state-of-the-art technology to reduce pollution.

Written comments must be received by Ohio EPA/Toledo Division of Environmental Services by the close of business on June 3. Comments after that date may not be part of the official record. Written comments may be sent to Matt Stanfield, Toledo Division of Environmental Services, 348 South Erie Street, Toledo, 43602, or faxed at 419-936-3015.

For more information, contact Stanfield at 419-936-3015.

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