EPA hears from opponents of planned tires-to-energy plant in Youngstown
The Youngstown community is not backing down in its efforts to stop a waste-to-energy plant from moving into the city.
The Ohio EPA hosted a public comment session to hear from people who live and work where Sobe Thermal Energy Solutions wants to set up shop in Downtown Youngstown.
As the Ohio EPA answered concerned questions for hours Thursday night, the community is still a firm 'no' on the plant that they say is a major safety hazard they don't want in their backyards.
"We do not want tire fires in our backyard," one woman said.
Dozens of specific questions to the EPA surrounding the safety of Sobe's Thermal Energy Solutions gasification process of super-heating materials into electricity and synthetic gas.
This comes as the EPA has issued a draft permit to begin operations but the final permits are still needed for the company to get up and running.
Questions on thermalizers, pyrolysis, emissions, and how the EPA decides the concept is safe enough filled the room for hours as the EPA calmly responded to each concern.
"Why does the EPA get to decide how much toxic pollution we and our children will be poisoned with," one woman asked.
"What are the issues with the prior pyrolysis plants?" another woman asked.
"Do you ever take into consideration the cumulative gas because they're (Vallorec) two miles apart,' someone asked. "We do live in a valley, inversion layer."
The public hearing is a routine concept from the EPA if concern is raised about the safety of the project.
"Volatile organic compounds, create cancers," Another woman added. "This has been proven."
City officials including Mayor Tito Brown, City Council President Jim Hetrick and Councilwoman Anita Davis also spoke out against the plant.
In shirts that read 'creating a cleaner future,' Sobe employees supported the plant in solidarity. The EPA will now take the concerns they heard Thursday as it works to consider issuing the permits, giving the company the green light to set up shop.
The EPA does believe the process is safe.
Reps even agreed they would live next to the plant to reassure people in Youngstown they aren't at risk. Sobe will now await those final permits from the EPA.