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Acid rain is a scientific reality

The Waiareka Valley Preservation Society

Press Release

Acid rain is a scientific reality. Holcim is in denial.

Today Rodney Jones commented that:

It is time for Holcim to front up and admit to the health and environmental risks associated with a large cement plant.

Holcim’s claim of no acid rain from their Weston cement plant is akin to saying that the earth is flat. The science is clear. Cement production uses limestone and coal, which releases sulphur dioxide into the air. This sulphur dioxide reacts with hydrogen, which returns to earth as acid rain.

The science of acid rain is very simple. And the science tells us that with its historic limestone buildings, Oamaru is uniquely vulnerable to acid rain.

On 8 December the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued amendments to their air standards to “improve public health protection against mercury and other air toxic emissions from the Portland cement manufacturers”.

“In a separate action, EPA announced that it will reconsider the emission limits for mercury and total hydrocarbons for new cement kilns. EPA is taking this step because it recently became aware of information and questions about mercury and hydrocarbon controls at cement kilns”.

The information the EPA reacted to last week is the same information we presented at our public meeting. Yet Holcim has chosen to accuse us of mistruths and providing misinformation. That is totally unacceptable, and we absolutely reject Holcim’s accusations. If anything, our presentation is overly conservative in estimating likely emissions – and we have peer reviewed scientific papers to back up our claims.

Our community cannot bury its head in the sand. If the Holcim cement plant is approved we will have acid rain and other heavy metal pollutants in our area. It is profoundly disturbing that Holcim is trying to deny basic science while putting a one million tonne cement plant in our midst.

Holcim needs to come clean with the community. This plant will have profound environmental impacts that Holcim must acknowledge.

The society does want a dialogue with Holcim, but one on the basis of science, not school yard bullying.


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