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? Residents in Northern Columbia, Southern Rensselaer share concern with Greene and Albany counties

? Group places copy of application in Kinderhook library

KINDERHOOK, N.Y -- A public information meeting will be hosted by Friends of Hudson on Saturday, February 7th in Kinderhook to help acquaint area residents with the LaFarge North America company’s proposal to burn millions of tires yearly as fuel in their Ravena cement plant.

The meeting will be held at 1 pm at North Pointe Cultural Arts Center on Route 9 (62 Chatham Street), located less than 15 miles downwind of the Ravena stack.


"Moderate" windspeeds for the area are defined as 15 miles per hour, prevailing from west to east, meaning that emissions from the facility, formerly known as Blue Circle, can reach Kinderhook in under an hour—much sooner in other parts of Northern Columbia and Southern Rensselaer counties.

The meeting will detail what is known thus far about Lafarge’s plan, including what opportunities exist for citizen involvement in the review process by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The meeting will also include discussion of issues known to require further study, including the adequacy of emissions monitoring and controls in LaFarge’s proposal, their plan to burn whole rather than shredded tires, and the sources of the tires that will be used.

In November of last year, Lafarge applied to the DEC to burn rubber, including tire-derived fuel at its plant near the Albany and Greene County borders, just across the Hudson River from Schodack Landing (2.9 miles east) and Stuyvesant (at the post office, 7.3 miles southeast). The Ravena plant proposes to replace 25% of the coal it uses as fuel by burning 6–8 million tires per year.

Friends of Hudson, which has many members in towns downwind of the Ravena plant (see attached map), obtained a copy of the Lafarge application via a Freedom of Information Law request, and has placed an additional copy in the Kinderhook Memorial Library at 18 Hudson Street for use by members of the public.
Friends of Hudson is continuing to analyze the application and the company’s preliminary Environmental Assessment. This initial review has flagged several areas which merit further study, including the potential impacts to health in the region.

"We are very concerned about the overall air quality in this area of the Hudson Valley," said Friends Deputy Director Susan Falzon. "Even without St. Lawrence Cement’s coal-fired Greenport proposal, there is the new Athens Generating Plant, the existing SLC and Glens Falls Lehigh cement plants in Catskill, as well as LaFarge’s Ravena plant. We think this application must be reviewed both in its particulars, and also in the context of this bigger picture."

According to Dr. Neil Carman, a chemist and a former air pollution control officer for the State of Texas who spoke in Hudson several years ago,

Tires are a toxic waste when they are burned. Tires are made out of materials that are considered toxic when they are in a liquid form. These are released when they are burned. The legal and “technical” exemption of tires from the definition of hazardous waste is not protective of public health when they are burned.
LaFarge has claimed that its proposal would alleviate the fire and disease hazards caused by waste tire storage in New York State. While recognizing that the problem exists, research gathered by Friends of Hudson shows that cement kilns are not designed to be used as incinerators, and that doing so can expose downwind neighbors to a variety of health risks not incurred in other methods of tire disposal or recycling.

"There appear to be a wide range of far safer methods for dealing with the tire storage problem, and our group is actively researching those as well," said Falzon. Burning of tires can result in emissions of metals and inorganic materials such as mercury, lead, chromium, cadmium, arsenic and benzene—just part of a much longer list which includes potent carcinogens and reproductive toxins. Research has shown that children, pregnant women, immunosuppressed individuals and those with specific genetic susceptibility are uniquely vulnerable to the damage and disease caused by many of the emissions which may result from burning tires.

The Ravena plant has been cited as one of dirtiest in the state as far as toxic emissions are concerned. In 2001, it received a $276,000 fine from DEC for a host of permit violations cited by plant neighbors.

Directions to the February 7th meeting are available from the Northe Pointe website: click HERE.