By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item
LEWISBURG — The public will get 45 days more to review public records and supporting documents for a proposed tire-derived fuel plant in Union County — a welcome deal from the state, but the county wants 90 days, said state Rep. Fred Keller, R-85 of Kreamer.
Earlier this week, Keller, the Union County commissioners and the White Deer Township supervisors received a letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection granting a 45-day extension, beginning May 13, for the public to review documents involving the White Deer Energy Project, a cogeneration plant that would burn recycled tires to produce steam and electricity.
The elected officials asked DEP for 90 days in a written request submitted last Friday.
Keller met with DEP officials Wednesday and was told the agency already extended the public review period by 45 days as per another request, but the agency didn’t say who filed it.
Keller said he appreciates the extension “and by granting it (DEP’s) acknowledgment that 11 days wasn’t enough time” to review the myriad documents. But he wants to know who requested the 45 days, “and irregardless, I want 90 days.”
DEP agreed to officials’ request to make En-Tire Logistics’ and National Gypsum’s plans more accessible to Valley residents, putting duplicate copies in the Public Library for Union County on Reitz Boulevard, Lewisburg, available as of Monday.
Governmental officials in Union County asked DEP to delay its decision on the White Deer Energy Project’s air-quality plan for at least 90 days to allow the public more time to review the application and supporting documents.
“This project has been going on since before I got into office,” Keller said. “A total 90-day extension is not unreasonable, and we will continue to head down that path.”
Keller said by granting any extension, DEP acknowledges “we need the review time.”
A unified front spans all levels of government and includes Keller; county Commissioners John Showers, Preston Boop and John Mathias; and White Deer Supervisors Carroll Diefenbach and Larry Siebert.
The White Deer Energy Project is a tire-derived fuel plant that would create about 7 megawatts of energy by burning recycled tires in a cogeneration process. Power and steam the plant would generate would be used at the adjacent National Gypsum plant near West Milton.