GENESEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) – Federal environmental regulators recommend more studies before plans for a new Ajax Materials asphalt plant in Genesee Township are approved.
The Environmental Protection Agency said the proposed Ajax plant on Energy Drive near the city limit of Flint would go to an area already facing air quality issues. However, the company still needs a state air quality permit to open the plant.
Federal regulators believe the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy should weigh Ajax’s plans against existing air quality issues at other nearby industrial facilities to provide an assessment complete environmental effects.
The EPA notes that Ajax’s air quality modeling does not adequately consider all sources of stacks and fugitive emissions.
“The neighborhood around the proposed asphalt plant has some of the highest levels in the state of Michigan for many pollution indicators used by the EPA’s Environmental Justice Scout Tool …” , says a letter from EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator Cheryl Newton to an air quality regulator. .
The EPA also recommends that state environmental regulators address concerns about the plant outside the scope of an air quality permit, including possible civil rights issues. Newton noted that state regulators had asked Ajax to consider other sites, but the company apparently refused.
The Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy can still approve the air quality permit for Ajax. If this happens, the EPA recommends that regulators and the company work together on a website to provide plant air quality data in a form that is easily accessible online.
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