By Rick Dandes
The Daily Item
— WEST MILTON — More than 100 public comments filed on the proposed White Deer Energy Project, plus an engineer’s finding that the project’s application with the state Department of Environmental Protection is in order, make another 45 days of public review unnecessary, officials said Thursday.
State Rep. Fred Keller, R-85, Kreamer, met Thursday with Andrew Ritter, a deputy secretary of legislative affairs for Gov. Tom Corbett, to discuss a second 45-day extension for the public to review documents on the tirederived fuel plant next to the National Gypsum facility in West Milton.
The comment period ends July 5. Factoring in the decision are the more than 100 public comments DEP received about the plant that would use tirederived fuel to generate energy. Keller was able to read some of those comments, he said. Also, the technical review of the air permit application En-Tire Logistics submitted to DEP found the application to be complete.
“What we’ve seen in the comments that have come in, and weighing in the letter from Larson Design, we’re willing to say it’s enough,” Keller said.
"DEP has drafted a plan approval that will require En-Tire to meet their regulatory obligations,” wrote Mark Mummert, a design and environmental engineer with Larson Design Group, which reviewed the documents that were available to the public at the Public Library for Union County.
Mummert’s findings were provided to Keller, White Deer Township supervisors and Union County commissioners, who asked for the review. The trio of officials also got the first 45-day extension for the public.
Among the findings, En-Tire must meet more than 25 emissions parameters, the documentation showed. To assure the facility will make emission limits, En-Tire presented case histories for three similar tire-derived fuel-combustion facilities, of which just one is built and is much larger than that of EnTire.
DEP’s regulatory obligations include five controls, including a dry scrubber that reduces sulfur dioxide emissions. En-Tire also must continuously monitor emissions and perform stack testing to evaluate performance of the controls.
Union County Commissioner John Showers agreed with the decision. Though Showers said he’d rather see the plant operate on natural gas than tires, DEP needs time to go over the comments it has received. “Larson has seen nothing out of question with the application or the permit,” he said. “I would agree that no one seems to be stepping forward saying they need further time for analysis of the information.”
Keller said that a DEP decision on the air quality permit will not happen the day after the public comment period closes.
“They are going to take into account what has been said and written,” he said.
Carroll Diefenbach, White Deer Township supervisor, said there also are township procedures En-Tire must follow, including applying for land development and conditional use permits, submitting storm water drainage plans and addressing issues with the local sewer authority. All of these also have waiting and public comment periods, he said, which would take months to complete.