Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Challenge Filed on US Nitrogen Air Permit, Hearing Sought

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

A local resident, warning that increased emissions could jeopardize the health of area residents, has asked state officials to hold a public hearing on a proposed permit amendment submitted by US Nitrogen.
In a letter to an official of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Park Overall of Afton, wrote that the proposed increase in nitrous oxide emissions needs to be thoroughly evaluated in three separate categories to ensure federal standards are not exceeded.
Under the proposed amendment, which was submitted to TDEC late last year, nitrous oxide emissions would be allowed to triple.
Overall wrote that TDEC "should not approve and issue the amended permit for US Nitrogen until such time that TDEC conducts a full and comprehensive evaluation of the proposed increase in nitrous oxide and other pollutant emissions.
Under the proposal nitrous oxide emissions would be increased from .01 to .035 pounds per million British Thermal Units along with smaller hikes in greenhouse gases,  carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds (VOC).
Citing requirements for the use of best available technology to control emissions, Overall noted that the amendment calls for a relaxation of the current limits without any evidence that a revised analysis has been performed.
Such an analysis, she added, must be made available to the public.
The letter states that the amendment would also necessitate a review of short term emissions "to show compliance with national ambient air quality standards."
In addition she stated that the prior analysis for the existing permit did not include a planned nitric acid plant.
"TDEC's responsibility is to protect the health of local citizens living in and around the US Nitrogen facility," Overall concluded, adding that any increase in nitrous oxide emissions by the company potentially "threatens the health and welfare of local citizens living near the plant."
Citing state laws and regulations and the substantial change being requested, Overall called on TDEC to hold a public hearing on the proposed amendment.

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