All water, air permits for Sasol approved

By By Frank DiCesare / American Press

The state Department of Environmental Quality approved Sasol’s air and water permits, a move that will allow the company to

begin construction on a new ethane cracker and gas-to-liquids complex at its Westlake plant.

DEQ approved Sasol’s permits – 17 in

all – last Friday, one day after the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury

approved Sasol’s application

to rezone 1,470 acres of residential, agricultural and light

industrial land in Mossville to heavy industrial. The jury’s

approval will create additional space for Sasol’s projects.

Sam Phillips, DEQ’s assistant secretary

of environmental services, said the department’s decision means Sasol

“can absolutely

start construction” in areas where there are no wetlands. Sasol

currently has a wetlands modification permit application pending

with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The company has also applied for a permit with the Corps to build a dock facility on the Calcasieu Ship Channel.

Phillips said many changes were made to the company’s original application for air and water permits. He added that it would

take “a four-day conversation” to explain them all.

“We’ve been working on the permits for the better part of a year,” Phillips said. “The end product does not look like what

was originally submitted.”

Phillips also added that while Sasol’s new facilities will be emitting an estimated 10 million tons of new greenhouse gases

every year into the atmosphere, the company’s projects “are not the largest greenhouse gas facilities” the department has

ever permitted.

Phillips said concerned residents will

have two opportunities to appeal DEQ’s decision to approve Sasol’s

permits. Residents

who requested that DEQ mail them their decision will have 30 days

from that date on which it is mailed to file an appeal.

Phillips said DEQ’s mailing will include an explanation on the

appeal process. He added that the department hopes to get their

mailings out early next week.

In addition, Phillips said residents have 60 days from the date of issuance to file a petition with the Environmental Protection

Agency, which reviewed all of Sasol’s air and water permit applications to DEQ.

Once Sasol begins construction, DEQ officials will monitor the project’s stormwater runoff to ensure that it does not get

into the soil, Phillips said. When the facilities are up and running, he added, DEQ “will seriously engage in oversight to

make sure the emissions (Sasol) has predicted are accurate.”

“They also have to keep us informed as to where they are in the construction process in terms of the percentage complete,

and they will make regular reports to us about that,” Phillips said.

Sasol’s proposed $7 billion ethane

cracker will produce ethylene, which, in turn, will be used to make

products such as synthetic

fibers, detergents, paints and fragrances. The facility is

expected to produce about 1.5 million tons of ethylene a year.

Construction on the facility is expected to begin next spring.

The company’s GTL complex is expected

to produce more than 96,000 barrels of diesel fuels and chemicals each

day. The complex

will also house Sasol’s second linear alkyl benzene unit, which

will increase the company’s production of detergent alkylates.

The project will cost $11 billion - $14 billion. Sasol is expected

to break ground on the complex in 2016.

When completed, Sasol’s expansion projects will more than quadruple the size of its plant.