LafargeHolcim, Town Officials at Odds Over Proposed Air Pollution Law

Coeymans, N.Y., officials have postponed a vote on a proposed local air-pollution law that could bar LafargeHolcim’s Ravena cement plant from burning scrap tires as fuel, reported the Albany Times Union. A vote by the town board was scheduled for Jan. 10 but now the town is considering to send the measure to the Albany County Planning Board for review.

State Sen. George Amedore (R-District 46) has thrown his support to a proposal by LafargeHolcim to rewrite the law so the company could burn scrap tires at its Ravena plant. LafargeHolcims’s regional counsel Shelbee L. Hundley offered up revisions to the town proposal that would allow burning of waste tires, but ban other wastes, like trash, sewer sludge, refuse-derived fuel, electronic waste, and construction and demolition debris.

“As the state senator representing the LafargeHolcim facility, I have great appreciation for them as an employer and community partner,” Amedore wrote in a letter to town officials. “At a critical juncture when they could have chosen to leave New York, they showed their commitment to their employees and the community and decided to invest in their new plant here.”

Amedore said while he supported Lafarge’s proposed changes to the law, he was uncertain as to whether the burning of tires at the plant would call for a full-fledged Environmental Impact Statement under the state Environmental Quality Review Act, something that backers of the law want to see done.

“We should keep politics out of this, and bring in the science,” Amedore said, adding that cement production was a “very overregulated industry.” Amedore said he met with proponents of the law prior to deciding to support Lafarge.

Burning tires at the Ravena cement plant would replace some of the coal and coke used as fuel to fire the cement kiln, which was rebuilt in 2017 as part of a multimillion dollar modernization projectproject.

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