I am writing to address some questions that have been raised regarding Lehigh Cement’s proposal to begin using an engineered fuel, known as raggertail, as a partial substitute for fossil fuels at our Glens Falls plant. This alternative fuel is made up of non-recyclable plastic trimmings and paper fiber diverted from the paper recycling process. Please know that:
• The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has reviewed our application and the results of air emissions testing performed with this fuel and determined that “its use will not cause ambient impacts above state guideline concentrations.”
• Lehigh has not asked for any increases in our air emission limits. If we are allowed to use raggertail, we will be subject to the same stringent permit limits as we are today. The current limits were established by President Obama’s administration in 2015 based on what was determined to be protective of human health and the environment.
• Lehigh conducted a trial run using raggertail in 2017 and performed emissions testing under the direction and onsite observation of DEC. These tests showed that all of Lehigh’s regulated air emissions are expected to be between 69 percent and 99 percent below our current permitted levels.
Our plant has been a proud member of the regional community for 125 years, and we are committed to operating in a responsible way that is protective of our environment. Our local plant is one of just two cement plants remaining in New York state, and we are under tremendous cost pressures from global competitors, including a massive new government-subsidized plant in Canada. Our nearly 100 employees are working hard to keep us competitive, and the use of raggertail as a partial substitute for fossil fuels will help their effort immensely by lowering our fuel costs.
David Dreyer, Plant Manager, Lehigh Cement Company, Glens Falls