Last Modified: Monday, June 02, 2014 8:23 AM
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.
Posted By: Paul Ringo On: 6/2/2014
If anyone in government wonders why people do not trust government, let this be one more indicator on the heels of the recent legislative session. When State Senators get away with taking almost a $1 million in campaign finances to stop a lawsuit holding BP and others responsible for their mistakes, the lack of trust and lack of respect from the public follows. The worst thing is they have absolutely no shame about it. These permits include 17 million gallons of polluted water PER DAY into the Calcasieu Estuary not to mention this being the largest greenhouse gas emitter in North America and the State DEQ doesn't even require simple available technology or bother to listen to the requests of concerned public.
Posted By: Doug On: 5/31/2014
Wow!!! Ten million tons of new greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere each year, and yet we wonder about climate changes and health concerns. All at the same time that President Obama is doing all he can to reduce the levels of such gases in the atmosphere. Unbelievable!!!