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Conservation Groups Appeal Holcim Air Permit St. Louis, Mo.

Four conservation organizations have filed an appeal with the Missouri Air Conservation Commission of the air pollution permit issued for the proposed Holcim cement plant. Holcim's proposed plant - to be the largest in the northern hemisphere - would emit approximately 26,000 tons of regulated air pollutants each year, including pollutants that contribute to already unhealthy air in the St. Louis region. The St. Louis region is known to be in violation of standards for ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter, and much of the Midwest is under a fish advisory because of mercury pollution.

Holcim's plant will emit roughly 7,000 tons of pollutants annually that contribute to ground- level ozone, and 160 pounds of mercury each year. "Holcim basically got the permit it wanted", said Ted Heisel, Executive Director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. "Our state agency cut them a break, issuing a permit that's weaker than what's been required of other plants." "Once again the Department of Natural Resources has failed to act on behalf of the best interests of the citizens of Missouri," stated Carla Klein, Ozark Chapter Director for Missouri Sierra Club. "MDNR is willing to give the largest cement plant in North America the green light to pollute our air for 100 years without even minimum air pollution controls."