August 13, 2014 | 09:11 AM
There will be a public meeting next week concerning the proposed MAC Construction and Excavating Inc. asphalt plant in northern Harrison County.
More than 500 people last month signed online and hard-copy petitions urging the Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management to have a public hearing or meeting on the proposed plant.
A public meeting — not a hearing — will take place Wednesday, Aug. 20, at 5:30 p.m. in the North Harrison Middle School cafeteria in Ramsey and will be open to the public and all interested parties.
MAC Construction applied for a new source construction and Federally Enforceable State Operating Permit from the Office of Air Quality at IDEM for the proposed plant at 6300 S.R. 64 near Depauw.
If approved by IDEM, this permit would allow MAC to construct and operate a new portable asphalt plant.
As part of the FESOP application process, a 30-day public notice period began June 25 during which time residents had an opportunity to submit to IDEM their comments about the proposed plant or request a public meeting regarding the air-permit issues.
"The air quality for the residents of Harrison County and adjacent Crawford County is of the highest importance," the petition, created by David Williams of Union One, said. "MAC owns an asphalt plant in Jeffersonville, Ind., which has been the continuous subject of complaints from Jeffersonville residents regarding issues surrounding emissions from the plant since at least 2007.
"Additionally, residents near the plant, concerned about the pollution emitting from the plant, have been involved in litigation against MAC over the plant since August 2010," he said. "Now MAC wants to place an asphalt plant in Harrison County. At the very least, the residents of Harrison County and surrounding counties should be entitled to a public hearing to voice any concerns and have their questions answered. The public deserves a voice. The public deserves a public hearing on this issue."
In the Jeffersonville case, local residents and property owners are among those who have repeatedly raised health concerns about the fumes from the plant and are trying to reverse the special exception zoning variance given to the plant by the City of Jeffersonville in 2005.
The case was dismissed by the trial judge in 2011, but the residents appealed the dismissal to the Indiana Court of Appeals. In 2012, the court ruled in the residents' favor and remanded the case back to the trial court. The case is pending.
For more information about that case, visit online at www.incin.org/eyeonconstruction.html.