Lehigh wins permit for tire-burning

August 19, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

Lehigh Portland Cement Co. has moved a step closer to beginning a tire-burning project at its Union Bridge plant.

Maryland's Department of the Environment reported Tuesday that it will issue the company an air emissions permit within two weeks because no one protested the permit during the 15-day period the state agency set aside for community comment.

"We are at the end of the process, and we're in the stage of getting the permit out within a week to 10 days," said Lou Gieszl, a spokesman for the MDE. "We'll use that time to talk to everyone involved and go over the conditions of the permit and get it signed."

John J. Jones, assistant plant manager for Lehigh, said the company was pleased with the outcome. However, the company still has other steps to take before tire burning can begin at the cement-making plant in northwestern Carroll County.

"This permit is what we need to start construction, but there are some other loose ends we need to deal with [at the state level]," Mr. Jones said. "We don't foresee anything else to hold us up."

Mr. Jones said the company has been working concurrently to get another MDE permit for storm-water runoff from the tire-storage facility.

"We've made application to recycle the scrap tires, and we need to have a permit," Mr. Jones said.

Lehigh has been seeking approval for several years from the MDE to burn tires as a fuel in cement kilns. The company hopes to replace 18 percent to 20 percent of its fuel with tires.

Only one person opposed the tire-burning plan during a public hearing June 3 at the Union Bridge Community Center. About 70 people attended the two-hour hearing sponsored by the MDE.

The MDE requires a grace period before the final decision so that people who want to protest the permit have a chance to request in writing a hearing before an administrative judge.

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