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EPA recommends further study of proposed Genesee Township asphalt plant

Federal regulators say more data is needed on modeling, effects of existing air quality and civil rights
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 8:32 AM EDT
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GENESEE TOWNSHIP , Mich. (WJRT) - Federal environmental regulators are recommending more studies before plans for a new Ajax Materials asphalt plant in Genesee Township reach approval.

The Environmental Protection Agency says the Ajax plant proposed on Energy Drive near the Flint city limit would go into an area already facing air quality issues. The company still needs a state air quality permit to open the plant, however.

Federal regulators believe the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy should weigh the plans from Ajax with existing air quality concerns from other industrial facilities nearby to provide a complete assessment of environmental effects.

The EPA notes that Ajax’s air quality modeling doesn’t adequately consider all sources of stack and fugitive emissions.

“The neighborhood around the proposed asphalt plant has some of the highest levels in the State of Michigan for many pollution indicators used by EPA’s environmental justice screening tool...” says a letter from Acting EPA Regional Administrator Cheryl Newton to a state air quality regulator.

The EPA also recommends that state environmental regulators consider concerns about the plant outside of the scope of an air quality permit, including possible civil rights issues. Newton noted that state regulators asked Ajax to consider other sites, but the company apparently declined.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy still can approve the air quality permit for Ajax. If that happens, the EPA recommends that regulators and the company collaborate on a website to provide air quality data from the plant in an easily accessible form online.

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