Dotting iís & Crossing tís

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Quincy Styke (l), Air Pollution Deputy Director, & Barry Stephens, Technical Secretary

Just getting Ducks in Row - Before TDEC removes Air Monitor

 

By: Pat Hunter

November 23, 2008

 

TDEC, EPA and State Health Department were well aware of the health issues of Loudon County residents, 1st in cancer for a 10-year period, statewide. These agencies were also aware of high respiratory problems with local residents and yet these agencies turned a blind eye to the health issues, here. Now, these same agencies that did nothing for years, want residents to believe that they care about our health and that they will do the right thing! Loudon County is in violation of federal law on particulates and ozone regulations but it appears that TDEC continues to give polluters a carte blanche with permitting issues.

 

The Loudon County Air Quality Task Force Meeting was held on Thursday Nov. 20th instead of its customary Wednesday afternoon meeting to accommodate VIPS from the EPA Environmental Protection Agency and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). 

 

In attendance were Dr. Ken Mitchell, Chief of Air Toxics Assessment and Implementation Section, EPA Region 4, and staff members. Also present: Barry Stephens, Technical Secretary with the Tennessee Air Pollution Control (TAPC), TDEC, Quincy Styke, Deputy Director, (TAPC-TDEC), Jackie Waynick, Director of Air Monitoring, and Vick Malichis, TAPC-Knoxville manager.

 

The Loudon County Air Quality Task Force and key personnel from major polluting industries including Tate & Lyle, Dupont, Kimberly Clark-Trigen and Viskase, and about 30 people were in attendance to hear environmental officials and to watch a brief power point presentation. Not in attendance was pediatrician Dr. Bud Guider, a member of the Air Quality Task Force! 

 

Click to see Video Clip Barry Stephens

Thursdayís event seemed more like a dog and pony show, held for the media. First, Technical Secretary Barry Stephens defended his actions for removing the air monitor and then he spoke to the newspapers and it appears that he reversed himself with yet another story. Stephens will now wait till spring 2009!  

 

The air monitor (Ft. Loudon Middle School-Robertís Rd.) that has consistently run lower of the two air monitors will be closed at the end of year, Stephens said. I still believe that my decision was reasonable based on data information he received concluded Barry Stephens.

 

TDEC will develop the best inventory of air emissions for this area and do computerized modeling to locate contributions from local point sources and difference from sources outside of area, which cannot be controlled. Stephens explained that he believes that he has adequate emission data for the study. The EPA will also do a risk assessment study with a release target date of January 2009 and will hold a workshop to explain it to the locals that may find the information either confusing or can't understand.        

 

TDEC Attorney Stephen Stout (TDEC) was in tow. Barry Stephens read from prepared text and appeared nervous as he read from the podium. Stout listened and wrote notes throughout the meeting as he watched and listened.

 

Barry Stephens informed everyone about the cost of running two air monitors with a cost of about $90,000 yearly and $500,000 to date. There are two air toxins monitors, one located on Jim Popeís Webb Rd. property and the other located at Ft. Loudon Middle School -Robertís Rd. The toxins monitor measure ambient air and about 67 toxins - hazardous air pollutants.

 

 

 

The air monitor on Webb Drive has been around for 5-years, and the school monitor for 2Ĺ years. Stephens said that a 2nd monitor was made at the request of the citizens. However, citizens like the late Larry Bandy who was involved in air quality issues prior to his passing and Clean Air Friends and Jim Woods requested another more suitable location that better reflected wind patterns. Our request was ignored in favor of a location that consistently ran lower readings, as TDEC mentioned as the reason for its proposed removal!     

 

 

Air monitor - Robert's Rd.

 

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11-23-08