Permit Approved: State DEQ renews Warden

Daily Mining Gazette file photo MDEQ Air Quality Division staffers Jay Parent and Assistant Division Director Mary Ann Dolehanty conduct a public hearing in L’Anse on July 26 for a recently approved permit for the L’Anse Warden Electric Co.

L’ANSE — After considering public concerns voiced at a hearing last month he Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has approved a permit for a L’Anse plant.

MDEQ Air Quality Division (AQD) Assistant Division Director Mary Ann Dolehanty approved the L’Anse Warden Electric Co. Permit To Install (PTI) application.

Dolehanty presided at the July 26 hearing regarding the PTI and a Renewable Operating Permit (ROP) renewal application for the electric plant.

Owned by Convergen, the L’Anse Warden is located at 157 Main St. in L’Anse.

The MDEQ published a Response to Comments document Friday afternoon, when it announced the permit approval.

According to the document, the AQD has prepared the permit conditions to reflect the rules and laws that apply to the facility.

“The draft permit itself is the preliminary determination,” Environmental Engineer Michelle Rogers explained in the response document she prepared. “The purpose of the public participation process is to obtain input on the preliminary determination from all affected parties, including the applicant and the general public. This helps the decision-maker to make a more informed final decision on the permit application.”

Most of the 13 people who spoke at the hearing were worried about potential negative impacts the plant may have on the health of individuals and the environment.

“Some commenters were concerned about the effects of some pollutants on the surrounding environment, including Keweenaw Bay and Lake Superior,” Rogers wrote. “There are two types of federal air quality standards, and a permit that would violate either standard would not be approved. The primary standard is designed to protect the health of the most susceptible individuals in a population, including the children, elderly and those with chronic respiratory ailments. The secondary standard is designed to protect public health and welfare and ensure quality of life. The function of the secondary standard is to limit economic damage and destruction to buildings, plants and animals. Based on the permit review, the AQD does not anticipate any adverse effects on the local environment, Keweenaw Bay or Lake Superior from the facility emissions. In addition to evaluating criteria pollutants, the AQD has compared the emission to health-based screening levels for toxic air contaminants. Emissions from the facility are restricted to ensure public health protection from inhalation exposure, and although some emission and deposition could occur from any combustion source, there is no reason to suspect that the terrestrial environment or these large bodies of water may be adversely impacted by the permitted facility emissions.”

Ten written comments were also submitted at the hearing.

Under the terms of the PTI, the L’Anse Warden will add engineered fuel pellets to its list of fuel sources.

“The final permit includes conditions related to the fuel pellets which will ensure that the use of the pellets will comply with state and federal regulations,” Rogers wrote. “Comments related to previously established permit conditions will be addressed in more detail in the Staff Report for the ROP Renewal.”