RAVENA Lafarge was granted additional time to complete construction of its new kiln, but the extension came alongside strengthened emissions standards to further reduce pollution at its local cement plant.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens, along with federal officials, on Tuesday, July 23, announced an amended settlement with Lafarge North America. The agreement extends the company’s deadline to construct the new kiln for its cement plant in Ravena by 18 months. In exchange for the extension, the company has agreed to reduce pollution emissions beyond what the original agreement’s requirements.
The amended settlement includes annual allowable emissions for nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide at or below the original agreement. These pollutants contribute to smog and soot pollution, along with acid rain. Lafarge, in a separate agreement with the state, will limit mercury emissions to levels 25 percent lower than the plant’s current air pollution control permit.
Lafarge also agreed to provide funding of $1.5 million toward projects to further reduce emissions at the plant and in surrounding communities. These projects include replacing its old diesel-locomotive with one equipped with state-of-the-art air pollution controls.
The state said it will be seeking input from residents within 30 miles of the plant on “other appropriate projects,” which could include additional energy-efficiency and pollution-reduction programs at area schools.
“This settlement will improve the air in Ravena and the surrounding area, while helping to ensure jobs stay in the community,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “My office will work to ensure Lafarge complies fully with this settlement, meets its obligations to modernize the Ravena operations, and continues to advance air quality in the Ravena area.”
Martens said the DEC is committed to preserving the environment while supporting economic development.
“Safeguarding the health of the community surrounding the Ravena plant is our top priority,” Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Judith Enck said in a statement. “This agreement will reduce the pollution limits required by the settlement at this facility by providing a significant amount of funding for projects that will improve local air quality.”