DEC issues permits for Lafarge modernization

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has issued the air and water discharge permits Lafarge needs to modernize its Ravena cement factory.

The release comes as anticipated after the DEC moved to accept the final environmental impact statement on the project July 8.

\Lafarge has demonstrated its commitment to some of the most rigorous environmental standards in the country, which will result in a 66 percent reduction in mercury emissions, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a statement. "In addition, this new facility will ensure a continued local supply of a critical building material."

The environmental review process took about three years. Reaction from local residents and advocacy groups alike was generally positive, as the project would greatly reduce many of the plant's emissions. More cement would also be able to be produced.

The modernization project is expected to cost $400 million and create 800 temporary construction jobs. The cornerstone of the upgrade is a replacement of the plant's wet kiln with a dry one, which should be much more efficient than the aging facilities now in place.

A much taller smokestack will be built as part of this process. The height will increase from 325 feet to 525 feet.

Lafarge still needs to secure a building permit from the Town of Coeymans before work can actually begin, but the newest developments put the company well on track to meet a target of having the new plant up and running in late 2014.""

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