On May 5, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) issued an Air Plan approval to Perdue AgriBusiness LLC for its proposed facility in Conoy Township, Lancaster County. The plant will process soybeans to extract oil and is expected to be a boost to the local agriculture community.
DEP’s approval is somewhat controversial because Perdue will use and emit to the air hexane as part of the extraction process. Hexane is considered an ozone pollution precursor, while a component of hexane is classified as a hazardous air pollutant. DEP contends that the approved final air plan includes “the most stringent emissions limitations for any soybean processing facility in the country.” Hexane emissions will be limited to 208 tons per year.
Opponents of the Perdue facility have 30 days to appeal DEP’s air plan approval to the Environmental Hearing Board. If there is an appeal, it is possible that interested parties, on either side of the issue, could intervene in the proceedings.
DEP also issued Perdue a permit allowing the construction of two above-ground storage tanks at the proposed facility.
Our Environmental Practice Group will be monitoring developments in this matter.