Earlier last month we became aware of new results on the mercury speciation being emitted by the Lafarge cement plant here in Alpena. As you might already know this facility has become the number one emitter of mercury in the state at over 581 pounds per year. It has replaced the DTE Monroe power plant which was number one at 683 pounds per year. They have installed equipment which will reduce their emissions by 80%. That would be a 550 pound reduction in their mercury emissions.
Of the three forms of mercury, Lafarge emits the most dangerous and toxic form is mercury vapor. Chlorinated mercury vapor is the most dangerous and toxic form. Lafarge emissions are 96% vapor. It tends to fall nearer to the facility than be carried away by the wind. Lafarge is within the Alpena city limits and on the shore of Lake Huron.
A FOIA request was submitted to the MDEQ on the 9th of February for the latest results by state toxicologists on this mercury. We know there are results and the MDEQ is sitting on them. The response we received by email on the 28th states so. Here is the kicker for reason of denial. It says documents responsive to my FOIA request are currently exempt based on the company's request. It is giving the company time to demonstrate why the documnets should remain exempt. There should be a decison by April 13 and if there is a decision made we will be notified if the documents will remain exempt. HUH? If the company is Lafarge, when did the MDEQ start working for Lafarge and not the people of Michigan? We knew that Lafarge had some good lobbyists but I did not think they were that good. .
Bill Freese, Director
Huron Environmental Activist league