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2/3/2014 6:00:00 AM
EPA takes dim view of Peach Springs lime plant
EPA sets meetings, solicits comments on proposals
The EPA has scheduled public hearings Feb. 25 in Phoenix and Feb. 26 in Tucson and will accept comments on its proposals for improved visibility and reduced emissions for 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. A final determination will be made by June 27. For more information about the EPA's plan, visit www.epa.gov/region9/air/actions/az.html.

Kim Steele
Miner Staff Reporter


PEACH SPRINGS - The Chemical Lime Company Nelson Lime Plant in Peach Springs is one of six Arizona facilities being targeted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for pollution controls to improve visibility at national parks and wilderness areas.

The EPA's plan would limit nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions at the lime plant and the other five facilities. The EPA estimates the plan overall would reduce sulfur dioxide by almost 30,000 tons per year and nitrogen oxides by 3,100 tons per year at all the locations.

Margot Perez-Sullivan, a spokesperson for the EPA in San Francisco, said the agency is acting under the Clean Air Act, which directs the EPA to protect the visibility in 156 national parks and wilderness areas, designated as Class I areas. The targeted companies' pollutants contribute to visibility impairment in 17 protected national parks and wilderness areas in Arizona and neighboring states.

"Arizona has a wealth of these areas and people travel from all over the world to enjoy the vistas at these national parks," said Perez-Sullivan. "Sometimes the views are obscured by haze, which is air pollution composed of small particles that scatter light, limiting what we see. Sources of haze include motor vehicles, power plants, and industrial and manufacturing processes. If we reduce the emissions that cause haze, we improve the views that people come to enjoy."

Officials from Chem Lime Nelson, which is owned by Lhoist North America and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, did not return calls for comment on Friday.

Perez-Sullivan said visibility improvements are measured in deciviews, and a difference of 0.5 to 1.0 deciviews is a perceptible change. In the case of Chem Lime Nelson, said Perez-Sullivan, the closest national park to the facility is the Grand Canyon. According to the EPA's analysis, there is a perceptible visibility impact of 1.79 deciviews from Chem Lime Nelson on the Grand Canyon.

Also, there are eight other Class I areas around Chem Lime Nelson, said Perez-Sullivan, which means the company has a cumulative impact of 3.3 deciviews on nine Class I areas within about 200 miles of it. Those include Petrified Forest National Park, Sycamore Canyon Wilderness and Pine Mountain Wilderness in Arizona, and Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks in Utah.

According to the company's latest air quality permit filed with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Chem Lime Nelson manufactures lime from limestone. It features a quarry mining operation, a limestone crushing and screening operation, a limestone kiln feed system, a solid-fuel handling system, two rotary lime kilns, a lime hydrator, diesel electric generators and fuel storage tanks.

The facility is classified as a major source of pollutants under the Arizona Title V program, which is administered by the ADEQ. This program requires major stationary sources of air pollution to obtain operating permits that assure compliance with all applicable federal air pollution control requirements. According to ADEQ, its levels of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides exceed state and federal thresholds.

Perez-Sullivan said the EPA is taking action now with the six companies because the state's Regional Haze Plan to control air pollution was partially approved and partially disapproved in July for not meeting the requirements of the Clean Air Act and the EPA's Regional Haze Rule. As a result, the EPA had to analyze concerns at the six companies, including kilns 1 and 2 at Chem Lime Nelson, and develop federal requirements for those parts of the state plan that were disapproved.

"Chem Lime is one of six facilities statewide this proposal is addressing," said Perez-Sullivan. "ADEQ and the EPA are addressing visibility impacts statewide through these regional haze proposals. After the public hearings and comment period, we will finalize and at that point, will know the exact timing the facilities have to address regional haze."

The other companies earmarked for pollution controls are Tucson Electric Power's Sundt Plant, ASARCO's Hayden Smelter, Freeport McMoran's Miami Smelter, Phoenix Cement Company's Clarkdale plant and CalPortland Cement Company's Rillito plant.



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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Article comment by: Nikki B

So wait:

"The facility is classified as a major source of pollutants under the Arizona Title V program, which is administered by the ADEQ. This program requires major stationary sources of air pollution to obtain operating permits that assure compliance with all applicable federal air pollution control requirements. According to ADEQ, its levels of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides exceed state and federal thresholds."

So this regulated facility is exceeding federal and state thresholds. Sounds to me like hefty fines need to be put in place until they get their emissions under federal and state limits.

This is simple. Come under compliance or pay out the nose until you do.


Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Article comment by: Uncle Anson

Proof to your allegations EPA. Please provide the numbers and while you are at it, what about Ca smog daily visible at the Grand Canyon. Oh, wait a min, Az didn't play ball with the current administration.

"Chem Lime is one of six facilities statewide this proposal is addressing," said Perez-Sullivan. "ADEQ and the EPA are addressing visibility impacts statewide through these regional haze proposals. After the public hearings and comment period, we will finalize and at that point, will know the exact timing the facilities have to address regional haze."
So this reads as guilty regardless of the outcome of public hearings. Seems to me the Feds are suffering from severe deciview affliction for which the cure is a glass eye in the navel so they can see with their head up their....well you know.


Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Article comment by: buster brown

i spend a great deal of time near nelson and never noticed that much dust. but there again i am not a foreigner trying to get a crystal clear view of a freakin rock

Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Article comment by: Don't Squander Precious Resources

The Grand Canyon provides 15 times more jobs and small businesses than that lime plant does.

Looks like Obama is the actual Pro-business Pres.

Besides, Clean-America and Healthy-America sounds better than Stinky-America or Cancer-America.


Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Article comment by: Closeted Intellectual

"latest federal jihad on jobs"? You do know that "jihad" means "holy war"? Or was it some terrible metaphor for the actions of a federal government agency? Regardless, since when does ensuring federal guidelines for toxic emissions are followed become actions of the enemies of the employed at Monroe County? I guess air pollution is alright then.

Posted: Monday, February 3, 2014
Article comment by: Dim View

'The other headline says the EPA takes a "dim view" of the plant.'

In fairness, "dim view" was probably just meant as a play on words with the reduced visibility in the parks. This is actually a more balanced article than some in the Miner, as it gives the EPA spokesperson a chance to explain the reasoning behind the agency's action.


Posted: Monday, February 3, 2014
Article comment by: V Stokes

"dim view" Just a play on words on why they are being checked out.

Posted: Monday, February 3, 2014
Article comment by: R H

More federal 'payback' to Arizona . This latest federal jihad on jobs will end up resulting in a few hundred more unemployed in Mohave county . The state needs to begin some real pushback to our overbearing federal government .

Posted: Monday, February 3, 2014
Article comment by: Trained Observer

Once again the Miner shows its bias. Part of the headline for this article says this plant is "being targeted" as if it were singled out unreasonably. The other headline says the EPA takes a "dim view" of the plant. The fact is that the plant is under reasonable investigation. Instead of objective reporting, the Miner chooses to use inflammatory words that will automatically whip some people into a frenzy against the EPA instead of reading the article to see what is going on. This seems to be another case of a company that is located outside AZ doing whatever it can to take substances from the state without having any investment in the outcome. But people here will stick up for that company no matter what it does in the name of "jobs."

Posted: Monday, February 3, 2014
Article comment by: Capt. Nice

I would almost bet these companies did not contribute to Obama!
What a shame that our country has become so corrupt, especially when it comes to peoples livelihoods.
When government and all of their regulations and it is something like 25,000 a year of new ones, shut down everyone who does not agree with them, where will they get their money then?


Posted: Monday, February 3, 2014
Article comment by: Rick O'Shea

Just terrible, they should be shut down and lime imported from China. America doesn't need jobs, we can all go on government assisstance.



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