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Clean Air Calendar

Five Public Hearings on DFW's New Clean Air Plan

Come and voice your opposition to inferior pollution controls and a plan that doesn't even meet Clean Air Act standards.

Wed, January 31st at 7:00 pm
Corner of Young and Ervay, Dallas Public Library (1515 Young Street, Dallas, TX)

Thurs, Feb. 1, 2007 at 2:00 pm
Public hearings on the new DFW Air Plan at Arlington City Hall 101 W. Abram St, Arlington, TX

Thurs, Feb. 1, 2007 at 6:00 pm
Midlothian Civic Center, 1 Community Circle, Midlothian, TX

Tues, Feb. 6, 2007 at 2:00 pm
Longview Public Library, 222 W. Cotton Street, Longview, TX

Thurs, Feb. 8, 2007 at 2:00 pm
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
12100 Park 35 Circle
Building E, Room 201S
Austin, TX 78753

Air Sponge

POINT SOURCE

An Air-Breather's Bulletin Board

2006 North Texas Clean Air Steering Committee Resolutions on Midlothian Cement Plants.

NORTH TEXAS CLEAN AIR STEERING COMMITTEE RESOLUTION SUPPORTING PREFERENCE IN PURCHASING POLICIES FOR CERTAIN CEMENT

WHEREAS, the North Texas Clean Air Steering Committee (the Committee) was created after several counties in North Central Texas were declared to be in violation of the ozone standard under the Federal Clean Air Act; and

WHEREAS, the Committee has worked closely with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in recommending and developing control measures to enable the region to achieve compliance of the ozone standard; and

WHEREAS, Point Sources of NOx emissions are among the causes of the region’s ozone nonattainment status; and

WHEREAS, scientific evaluation and studies by TCEQ and EPA demonstrate that emissions from cement kilns in Ellis County directly contribute to elevated ozone levels in the North Central Texas ozone non-attainment area; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED THAT THE NORTH TEXAS CLEAN AIR STEERING COMMITTEE EXPRESSES STRONG SUPPORT FOR:

  • Section 1: That local governments and special districts within the region’s ozone non-attainment area be strongly encouraged to include criterion in their bidding policies that rewards or give special consideration to cement from the companies operating kilns with the lowest NOx emission levels.
__________________________________

Honorable Judge Ron Harris, Chair North Texas Clean Air Steering Committee Collin County Judge I hereby certify that the North Texas Clean Air Steering Committee adopted this resolution on October 20, 2006.

__________________________________

Honorable Judge Margaret Keliher, Co-Chair North Texas Clean Air Steering Committee Dallas County Judge


NORTH TEXAS CLEAN AIR STEERING COMMITTEE RESOLUTION SUPPORTING LoTox AND/OR SELECTIVE CATALYTIC REDUCTION TECHNOLOGIES FOR ADDITIONAL CEMENT KILN EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS

WHEREAS, the North Texas Clean Air Steering Committee (the Committee) was created after several counties in North Central Texas were declared to be in violation of the ozone standard under the Federal Clean Air Act; and

WHEREAS, the Committee has worked closely with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in recommending and developing control measures to enable the region to achieve compliance of the ozone standard; and

WHEREAS, Point Sources of NOx emissions are among the causes of the region’s ozone nonattainment status; and

WHEREAS, scientific evaluation and studies by TCEQ and EPA demonstrate that emissions from cement kilns in Ellis County directly contribute to elevated ozone levels in the North Central Texas ozone non-attainment area; and

WHEREAS, scientific evaluation and studies by TCEQ and EPA demonstrate that emissions from cement kilns in Ellis County directly contribute to elevated ozone levels in the North Central Texas ozone non-attainment area.

WHEREAS, a 2005 study commissioned by TCEQ concluded that technology exists which can reduce NOx emissions from cement kilns by up to 80 percent; and

WHEREAS, that technology, known as LoTox and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), is believed to be compatible with Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction Control (SNCRC) technology.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED BY THE NORTH TEXAS CLEAN AIR STEERING COMMITTEE:

  • Section 1: That TCEQ require the kiln owners to have a pilot test(s) conducted for LoTox and/or SCR technologies, conditioned upon an initial demonstration that each technology will be economically, technologically, and environmentally effective and will not adversely affect plant operations and/or facilities.
  • Section 2: That all efforts be made to seek funding assistance from outside sources to offset costs of the cement industry for said pilot test(s).
  • Section 3: That said pilot test(s) be conducted as quickly as possible and completed no later than September 2007 so that cost effective emission reductions demonstrated from the use of the pilot tested technology can be incorporated into the 2009-2010 State Implementation Plan.
  • Section 4: That cement kilns producing nitrogen oxide emissions no greater than 1.9 lbs per clinker ton of cement produced during the ozone season shall be excluded from the mandatory pilot testing.
  • Section 5: That EPA, TCEQ, the North Central Texas Council of Governments, cement plant owners, local environmental groups, and local governments be involved in monitoring pilot testing.
__________________________________

Ron Harris, Chair North Texas Clean Air Steering Committee Collin County Judge I hereby certify that the North Texas Clean Air Steering Committee adopted this resolution on October 20, 2006.

__________________________________

Margaret Keliher, Co-Chair North Texas Clean Air Steering Committee Dallas County Judge



NORTH TEXAS CLEAN AIR STEERING COMMITTEE RESOLUTION SUPPORTING SELECTIVE NON-CATALYTIC REDUCTION TECHNOLOGY FOR CEMENT KILN EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS>

WHEREAS, the North Texas Clean Air Steering Committee (the Committee) was created after several counties in North Central Texas were declared to be in violation of the ozone standard under the Federal Clean Air Act; and

WHEREAS, the Committee has worked closely with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in recommending and developing control measures to enable the region to achieve compliance of the ozone standard; and

WHEREAS, Point Sources of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions are among the causes of the region’s ozone nonattainment status; and

WHEREAS, scientific evaluation and studies by TCEQ and EPA demonstrate that emissions from cement kilns in Ellis County directly contribute to elevated ozone levels in the North Central Texas ozone non-attainment area; and

WHEREAS, it is generally accepted in the cement industry and confirmed by a scientific study performed for TCEQ that Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction Technology is capable of reducing NOx emissions from kilns in a range of 30 percent to 50 percent.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED THAT THE NORTH TEXAS CLEAN AIR STEERING COMMITTEE EXPRESSES STRONG SUPPORT FOR:

  • Section 1: That TCEQ require the kiln owners to install SNCR technology on all kilns in Ellis County.
__________________________________

Honorable Judge Ron Harris, Chair North Texas Clean Air Steering Committee Collin County Judge I hereby certify that the North Texas Clean Air Steering Committee adopted this resolution on October 20, 2006.

__________________________________

Honorable Judge Margaret Keliher, Co-Chair North Texas Clean Air Steering Committee Dallas County Judge

Local Expert Weighs In on Impacts of Cement plants to DFW Air

Dr. Al Armendariz is an engineering professor at SMU in Dallas. Here's his analysis of the impact of the Midlothian cement plants on DFW air quality. This is one of the best summaries on the Midlothian plants we've ever read. It's a concise and powerful presentation of the facts.

View PDF of Dr. Amendariz's letter

-- Jim Schermbeck

Validation, Vindication, Celebration - Next Comes Implementation.

On January 10th, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality released the draft of a long-awaited report on possible new air pollution controls for the three Midlothian cement plants. The report was a requirement of the recent legal settlement between EPA and Downwinders At Risk plus three other citizens groups, which ended litigation over the 2000 DFW clean air plan.

According to the terms of the settlement, the TCEQ had six months to assemble a team of experts to study how each Midlothian cement plant could best reduce emissions of Nitrogen Oxides, or NOx. NOx combined with sunlight turns into ozone, or smog. Ozone pollution is the reason the entire DFW area must have a new regional clean air plan.

Citizens have been urging the TCEQ to require the use of Selective Catalytic Reduction, or SCR, technology on the cement plants since 1999, because it promises the largest reductions in NOx pollution. But the state has ignored that recommendation up until the release of this landmark report. SCR units are like the catalytic converters on automobiles, except they're made for heavy industry.

Among the conclusions in the Executive Summary of TCEQ's "Assessment of NOx Emissions Reduction Strategies for Cement Kilns - Ellis County" :

  • SCR, along with other kinds of advanced pollution controls, are technically feasible for each of the cement plants in Midlothian.
  • SCR and another scrubber-based technology, can provide at least 80-85% or better reductions in NOX pollution.
  • Eight out of the ten kilns, or furnaces, divided between TXI, Holcim and Ash Grove would would be relatively inexpensive to retrofit with advanced pollution controls. The other two kilns are rarely used.
  • Using SCR, emissions of NOx in Midlothian could go from almost 10,000 tons per year to 2,263 tons per year.

Using these new control technologies brings additional reductions in other kinds of pollutants from the plants that also improve air quality.

In short, this state report concludes that the SCR technology citizens have been advocating for application to the cement plants since 1999, a technology that can "conservatively" remove 80% of the plant's NOX, is both technologically feasible and economically reasonable.

Now that we have this report that proves our point, the next step is translating this official information into official public policy through implementation of SCR, or an equally effective technology, to the Midlothian cement plants in the new DFW clean air plan.

-- Jim Schermbeck

TCEQ Gets Skinned Up

(Dec 16th) That wasn't local environmentalists openly berating Texas Commission on Environmental Quality staff members of its lackadaisical and industry-friendly approach to DFW's air plan during today's Clean Air Steering. That was the local Republican establishment. Both Collin County Judge Ron Harris and Dallas County Judge Margaret Keliher got hot under the collar about TCEQ's responses to questions concerning the readiness of computer modeling and the much-anticipated TCEQ report on cement plant pollution control technology.

Harris was agitated as TCEQ staff told him that the modeling needed to start plugging proposed pollution-cutting measures might, or might not, be ready by the time the Committee meets on January 13th. "It better be ready" replied Harris, who looked like he wanted to take the TCEQers out to the woodshed.

Meanwhile, Keliher was trying to figure out why TCEQ was planning on sending out advance copies of the cement plant report to the cement companies on December 19th. The official explanation was that the companies needed to review it for "confidential information," but that sounded less and less plausible as the discussion wore on. Downwinders representative Jim Schembeck pointed out that there was a certain amount of, well, cynicism, in allowing the companies to get a sneak peek at the report, which is expected to detail what kind of new NOx pollution controls are feasible for the three Midlothian cement plants in Ellis County.

TCEQ's Theresa Pella promised that Keliher, who is co-chair of the Steering Committee's subcommittee on cement plants, would get a copy of what the companies got, although some parts may be redacted.

UPDATE: As of January 1st, no report had landed in Keliher's hands.

-- Jim Schermbeck

Critical Mass

(December 16th) The first official meeting of the Citizens Clean Air Network convened in an Arlington restaurant during lunchtime. Downwinders At Risk, Interfaith Environmental Action, Arlington Conservation Council, Interfaith Environmental Action, Dallas Sierra Club, Ft. Worth Sierra Club, Blue Skies Allience, and Public Citizen/Texas were all represented. Between bites of food, the fledgling group outlined its strategy for coalition-building over the next month or so leading up to the Steering Committee vote, originally scheduled for February 15th, but looking more like March at this point. First order of business--recruit more members.

-- Jim Schermbeck

We Have a Winner

(November 10th)

Downwinders At Risk officially launched its effort to build a fair and effective North Texas clean air plan by hiring long-time DFW clean air activist Rita Beving as its organizer for the Citizens Clean Air Network project. Rita brings a decade of experience with her, including the last round of fighting over a Metroplex clean air plan in 1999-2000. As Sierra Club Conservation Chair during the mid and late 1990's, she was also instrumental in helping Downwinders fight the TXI hazardous waste incineration permit.

-- Jim Schermbeck

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