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Asphalt plant plans worry Athens residents

Discussion about plans to build an asphalt plant in Limestone County has some people wanting their voices heard with public comments ending this Friday.

ATHENS, Alabama — Plans to build an asphalt plant on Moyers Rd. has some Athens residents like Bill Barber very concerned.

"We had just found out about the plant going up about a week ago and which is obviously a surprise to us and literally is in my backyard. My house is about 600 yards away from where the plant will sit once they get it built up." 

Head of the Air Quality Division for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management Ron Gore said this is how the process works. "When somebody thinks that there is a place that an asphalt plant would be successful, they choose it. the applicant comes to a deal and completes the application that consists of technical information about the plant." 

The department then determines whether they think it meets all the appropriate state and federal air pollution regulations for a permit. "If our conclusion is that it does, we go out to notice with a fifteen-day public comment period where the public can submit comments." The department will take those comments into consideration, said Gore. However, he said those comments have to be technical comments based on whether the permit is drafted properly. "Not other issues which people correctly view as environmental issues like condition of roads and esthetics and noise. those things, again, may be considered to be environmental factors by the public, but they're not factors that A.D.E.M. can take into consideration in deciding whether or not to issue a permit." 

Those issues have to be considered by local zoning laws, if there are any, for that site, he explained. Other residents also expressed their concerns. 

" Obviously there's concern with the amount of chemicals." one resident stated.

" They're leaking carcinogens into the air at all times. there's heavy metals," another resident said.

" This kind of came from under our feet," another resident explained. 

" It's sad that we have to go outside of our community to get help," one final resident expressed. 


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