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Neighbors surprised about what might move next door

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BATON ROUGE - People living along the levee south of LSU are urging the state to take a closer look at a barge cleaning company before granting a permit.

Tubal-Cain Marine Services applied with the Department of Environmental Quality to build its cleaning business along the Mississippi River across from Farr Park. 

The company deals with dangerous chemicals and would have a flaring operation.  People who live nearby just found out about Tubal-Cain possibly moving in and are asking questions.

"Whatever happens there, we're going to smell it," Riverbend Lakes resident Dennis Mitchell said. "We would like to see more information on what they're proposing to do. The information they've given us so far gives us some reason to have concern."

The Riverbend Lakes HOA requested DEQ to hold a public hearing to learn more about the facility and voice concerns.

"The facility in our opinion belongs in a more industrial area rather than at the edge of neighborhoods," Mitchell said.

But, a public hearing is not required for the facility since its estimated pollutants is below the level needed to hold public hearings concerning potential permitting. At 25 tons, public discussion is required; Turbal-Cain is estimated to pump out about 20.

"They have VOC's, which are volatile organic compounds, and some other materials but it won't be a major source," DEQ Press Secretary Greg Langley said.

"It has to go somewhere and sometimes people don't want it next to them. But, they don't know what it is until it's there. They're judging from the permit application, too, from what they've been told and we just go by the facts," Langley said.

BREC seems perplexed by the issue, too. Officials want to know the impact it'll cause horses and bald eagles nesting in the area.

Turbal Cain did not return a request for comment.

There is no timetable to when DEQ will decide whether to hold a public hearing or make a decision on the building permit.


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