As one of the Cass County Commissioners, I wanted to set the record straight regarding Lora Redwiek’s March 13 column in opposition to the proposed WSP zinc recycling facility (“Proposed zinc plant may harm environment”).
For example, Redweik references the purported emission levels from the same facility that we visited in Alabama. The TRI study data she cites are not reflective of actual emissions, but rather overly conservative estimates and calculations based on data from the 2010-2012 timeframe.
This data should not be considered an indicator of expected actual emissions at the proposed Cass County facility, risk to human health and the environment or compliance with environmental laws and regulations.
The actual data for Cass County will be reflected in the pending air permit application before the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, which we will review thoroughly.
My fellow commissioners and I are well aware of the events that transpired in Muncie last year as it relates to the proposed WSP facility. We have and will continue to factor said events into our consideration of the project, and ultimately our final decision which will be in the best interest of and reflect the wishes, views and values of the citizens of Cass County.
Cass County residents should be reassured that we are conducting extensive due diligence beyond merely referring to information sources generated by both WSP and opponents of the project in Muncie.
For example, in an effort to learn as much as possible about the zinc recycling process and evaluate if the facility might adversely impact our community we have conducted multiple visits to a similar facility in Millport, Alabama and even anonymously called that facility’s neighbors, including a day care center across the street, to garner more information. We can report that the Millport facility is looked upon as respected and a welcomed member of that community.
County officials have a long-running and ongoing dialogue with WSP officials and have held several in-depth question and answer sessions where we have found the company to be forthcoming and transparent.
WSP is committed to meeting or exceeding all state and federal environmental standards and regulations. We also have had meetings with IDEM regarding permit requirements to ensure the protection of human health, safety and the environment and are satisfied that permitted emission limits are set well below levels where adverse impact to human health and the environment becomes of concern.
While we understand and appreciate the passion exhibited by a faction of people in the community, we are confident from the thorough due diligence performed thus far that the zinc recycling process is environmentally-friendly, serves as a model of sustainable development in action, and that WSP would be a welcomed addition to the Cass County Agribusiness Park, a good neighbor and an effective steward of the environment.