PFOA 2005
August 31, 2005. Firm seeks new pollution permit .
By Ronald Leir. The Jersey Journal (Jersey City, NJ).

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The Jersey Journal (Jersey City, NJ)

August 31, 2005

Firm seeks new pollution permit


The state Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing in Bayonne Tuesday on an application by a Japanese-owned chemical plant for an air pollution control operating permit.

The DEP says the company - AGC Chemicals Americas, Inc., also known as Asahi Glass, on East 22nd Street off Route 440 - is required to obtain the permit under federal Clear Air Act regulations because it operates a "hazardous waste incinerator."

DEP spokeswoman Karen Hershey said the new permit is a consolidation of the company's existing air pollution control permits. The company says it is in compliance with existing regulations and the DEP agrees.
The hearing is scheduled from 7 to 8 p.m. in the City Council chambers at Bayonne City Hall, but the session will be extended if more time is needed to hear additional comments. Those who can't attend the hearing can submit written comments for two days afterwards.

The permit wouldn't allow AGC to add new equipment to the plant and wouldn't allow for increased emissions, DEP says.

If the permit is granted, AGC's incinerator would be allowed to discharge into the air up to 1.68 pounds per year of arsenic compound, up to 13,140 pounds per year of chlorine and up to 1,752 pounds per year of hydrogen fluoride, the DEP says.

DEP says the AGC incinerator "operates with at least 99.99 percent destruction and removal efficiency of the principal organic hazardous constituents."

One chemical the plant reportedly uses in the manufacturing of a non-stick product, PFOA, has been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a likely carcinogen, but no federal or state environmental standards have yet been issued governing its discharge from chemical plants.

DEP previously solicited the public's response to the proposed permit and that public comment period ended July 14.

Asked why the agency was going beyond that, Hershey said: "When we believe there is sufficient public interest, we hold a public hearing." Hershey said that interest level is measured "by the volume of comments we receive."

Asked to share the results of the previously received commentary, Hershey said she couldn't because "it's too preliminary to discuss that."

In a lawsuit it filed against the city earlier this year to contest part of its land being included in a redevelopment area, AGC mentioned plans to expand its Bayonne facility, but the company has never specified when that proposed expansion would happen.

The EPA will have 45 days to review the permit and, after that, if the agency raises no objections, the public will still have 60 days to file protests.

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