Dayton calls for Heartland impact statement

Cites unanswered questions, 'potentially enormous negative impact' on environment

By John Weiss

U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton is calling on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to do a full environmental impact statement on the controversial tire-burning plant being planned for Preston because he fears pollution from the plant could damage local water and air.

On Friday, he submitted a long list of comments demanding the full impact statement on Heartland Energy and Recycling Inc., instead of the smaller environmental assessment worksheet that has been done. The agency is taking comments on a supplemental worksheet after it added information to the initial one; an Olmsted County judge ruled the agency had to do the supplement because of some problems in the first worksheet.


Heartland is proposing a plant that would burn about 10 million tires per year to produce about 20 megawatts of power. It would accept tires from up to 500 miles away and pay for the plant with money from accepting tires, selling energy and selling the ash and metal coming out of the tires. The PCA Citizens' Board approved the worksheet and said no full impact statement was needed.

Dayton, however, said the proposed Preston plant would be the biggest plant in the country relying only on tires for fuel.

"A unique project of this size, that has so many unanswered questions and potentially an enormous negative impact on the water we drink and the air we breathe, demands more thorough environmental review," he told the agency.

Dayton based his call for the impact statement on the lack of good data for emissions from the plant. Much of the projected emission data used by the PCA come from a small pilot plant that was built for a California project that was never built or from plants that burn other fuels besides tires, he said.

The senator said he fears that if no impact statement is required for Heartland, other tire-burning plants would be built throughout the country and would also try to bypass environmental review.

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