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Erin Brockovich to Discuss Lafarge Cement Plant Emissions in Town Hall Meeting at Ravena HS

Well Known Environmental Advocate to Address Community Concerns

In a press release issued late Friday September 4, the NYC-based law firm Weitz and Luxenberg. P.C. announced that they will conduct a Town Hall meeting in association with Ms. Erin Brockovich and Dr. Mark Hyman MD on Friday, September 11, 2009 at 7 PM at Ravena-Coeyman-Selkirk High School to discuss the Lafarge Cement Plant in Ravena. They will be talking about the potential impact and options for addressing the problem. There will be presentations and a Q&A session. This promises to be an interesting and informative evening.

Having long been involved in advocacy and activism regarding the health and environmental impacts of the cement industry in our midst we are pleased to learn that Ms. Brockovich and Weitz and Luxenberg (the east coast law firm with which she is associated) have taken a particular interest in the impact of potentially toxic air pollution from the Lafarge Cement Plant in Ravena.

Erin Brockovich receives countless requests for help from people living in the shadow of polluting industries. She has taken a particular interest in Ravena because of the health concerns of the community. According to a statement from Ms. Brockovich, "Government is often absent when polluters need to be held accountable for poisoning the environment. And, invariably, we the people have to find some way to clean up the mess." This statement clearly expresses views shared by FoH and we are looking forward to hearing the thoughts of Ms. Brockovich, Dr. Hyman and Weitz and Luxenberg.

Since 2003 when Lafarge applied for a permit to burn tires at Ravena until the present with Lafarge's announcement to seek permits to modernize their coal burning plant FoH has been a constant watchdog and a participant in the regulatory processes for both these applications. Our experts recently reviewed Lafarge's Title V Air Permit Renewal application and found it lacking in several minor and a few major ways and have made our concerns known to Lafarge. We are now waiting to see a corrected submission of that application as well as a finalized Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the modernization project. At that time we intend to be full participants in the regulatory process to ensure that the plant, if approved, will be built to operate at the highest standards protective of the public health and the environment.

We were among the plaintiffs represented by EarthJustice (EJ) in numerous lawsuits seeking to force the EPA to limit emissions of hazardous air pollutants such as mercury and HCL from Portland Cement plants, as required by the Federal Clean Air Act. When the EPA finally proposed amendments to the National Air Toxics Emissions Standards we participated with EJ, other plaintiffs and numerous environmental groups across the country in demonstrating our support for the EPA's proposal. In June of this year FoH director Susan Falzon joined with these others in testifying at the EPA Public Hearing and in lobbying members of Congress on behalf of the proposal. There is reason to believe that this was a highly successful effort that will result in Congressional support.

FoH has worked very closely with CASE (Community Advocates for Safe Emissions) in Ravena and SCRAP (Selkirk Coeymans Ravena Against Pollution) to bring research and concerns about Lafarge to the attention of the public and government agencies.

If you have questions or can help by putting up flyers for the event or if you can staff our literature table on Friday please Email me or call 518-822-0334.

If you can spread the word to help us publicize the event you can download a flyer issued by Weitz and Luxenberg.

Friday, September 11, 2009 at 7 PM
Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk HS Auditorium
2025 Route 9W, Ravena (1 mile north of the center of the village on the southbound side of 9W)