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West Virginia firm drops bid to construct logging fumigation facility amid fierce opposition

A West Virginia logging firm hoping to construct a toxic-spewing facility within the picturesque Allegheny Mountains has withdrawn an software for an air allow following vehement opposition from residents, regulators mentioned Thursday.

The state Division of Environmental Safety mentioned it obtained a proper discover from Allegheny Wooden Merchandise. In a quick letter to the company dated Wednesday, the corporate cited “an additional evaluate of our enterprise wants” as the rationale for the applying’s withdrawal.

The corporate needed to assemble a fumigation facility within the Hardy County group of Baker to deal with logs earlier than they’re shipped abroad. The DEP’s Division of Air High quality had mentioned it tentatively deliberate to difficulty the air allow that might let the ability emit as much as almost 10 tons of the pesticide methyl bromide into the environment every year.

Native residents have bombarded regulators with opposition to the ability, saying it will be a risk to their well being and the atmosphere. Throughout a public listening to earlier this month, state air high quality allow engineer Steve Pursley had mentioned assembly air high quality thresholds, not public opinion, was the deciding issue within the issuance of the state allow.

A closing resolution on the allow was imagined to occur someday after the general public remark interval on the proposal ended Could 12. Now, in gentle of the corporate’s withdrawal, no additional motion might be taken on the applying, the DEP mentioned. If the corporate desires to go forward and find the ability anyplace within the state, it must submit a brand new air high quality allow software and restart the allowing course of, the company mentioned.


In earlier feedback posted on the DEP’s web site, some Hardy County residents invoked the Feb. three fiery practice derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, and different environmental disasters in asking officers to protect their well being and pure sources.

Hardy County, alongside the Virginia line lower than a two hours’ drive from Washington, D.C., has about 14,000 residents, appreciable poultry and different agricultural operations. It additionally gives vacationers an array of river float journeys and mountain climbing and biking trails.

The corporate would have confronted issues getting approval from native authorities in Hardy County anyway. Throughout the public listening to, Hardy County Planner Melissa Scott mentioned the proposed location off U.S. Route 48 was zoned for agricultural use, not industrial use. Scott learn a letter permitted by the county fee that mentioned “the necessities for Hardy County zoning compliance haven’t been met.”

Based in 1973 with one sawmill in Riverton, West Virginia, Allegheny Wooden Merchandise has grown to eight sawmills within the state and touts itself as one of many largest producers of japanese U.S. hardwoods.

A number of residents pleaded with the DEP previous to the listening to to additional evaluate the general public well being and environmental threats from the pesticide’s fumigation use and search various remedies.

The U.S. Environmental Safety Company says methyl bromide is an odorless, colorless gasoline used to regulate pests in delivery and agriculture. Whereas dozens of nations have stopped most makes use of of methyl bromide, the nations Allegheny exports the logs to require the pesticide fumigation therapy.

Underneath a three-decade-old worldwide treaty known as the Montreal Protocol, the USA and 197 different nations restricted most makes use of of methyl bromide, together with in soil purposes for crops, in an try to guard the ozone layer. However pre-shipment purposes on logs have been allowed to proceed to assist stop the introduction or unfold of pests and illnesses. That exemption is legitimate till an appropriate various for methyl bromide is discovered, however the U.S. Division of Agriculture has not permitted one.

Based on the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, methyl bromide is also a neurotoxin that may trigger lung illness, convulsions, comas and finally demise. It’s 3 times heavier than air, can accumulate in poorly ventilated or low-lying areas and stay within the air for days below adversarial situations, the CDC mentioned.

About 20 states now regulate the usage of methyl bromide in log fumigation, in line with the Southern Environmental Regulation Heart.

Allegheny Wooden Merchandise owned two fumigation amenities in Moorefield. One opened in 2018 and has met air high quality requirements, in line with the DEP. The opposite facility closed final 12 months and the corporate had needed to maneuver it 16 miles to Baker earlier than the applying’s withdrawal.

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