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Louisiana regulators consider denying hazardous waste permit

5 days 1 hour 51 minutes ago Tuesday, January 14 2020 Jan 14, 2020 January 14, 2020 5:12 AM January 14, 2020 in News
Source: Associated Press
Open burning of explosives at the Clean Harbors Facility Photo: Louisiana Environmental Action Network/The Advocate

COLFAX, La. (AP) — Louisiana regulators have filed their intent to deny a permit to a company that burns explosive material unless it pursues more environmentally sound practices.

Clean Harbors has burned materials including propellant for car air bags, solid rocket fuel and TNT at its private facility in Grant Parish since 1985, The Advocate reported on Sunday.

Residents and regional environmental groups have increasingly filed complaints seeking to halt the open burns over health and environmental concerns, news outlets say. Residents living nearby have also complained of thyroid, respiratory and skin ailments that some health studies have linked with exposure to chemicals burned at the plant.

Regulators have repeatedly cited the company for permit violations, and have accused Clean Harbors of housing a contaminated and leaking rainfall retention pond as well as contaminating soil and groundwater, records show. Still, regulators say there aren’t indications the contaminants are present in large enough concentrations to pose health risks.

On Jan. 3, the state’s Environmental Quality Department issued a notice of its intent to deny the renewal of Clean Harbors’ hazardous waste operating permit, The Alexandria Town Talk reported. 

The department has said the company failed to adequately consider other methods of disposal besides open burning, according to the notice.

The department is now offering a 45-day public comment period ahead of its final decision on the permit in late February, and Clean Harbors leaders said they’ll meet with officials during that period to present a plan that would address concerns.

Clean Harbors’ senior vice president of compliance and regulatory affairs declined to detail the plan, adding that it hasn’t yet been fully developed.

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