A $4.6 billion plant will make ammonia ‘the fuel of the future’
By Roberta Rampton
Updated at 6:01 p.m. on July 26, 2014
Lafayette County, Ohio, officials are trying to get approval for a $4.6 billion ammonia plant. It could cut emissions of nitrogen oxides to less than 1,000 parts per billion. Officials fear the state, which already ranks highest for emissions, will not have enough time to comply with the Clean Air Act.
So, they are trying to change that. A state commission plans to vote on two requests for a waiver that would allow an ammonia plant in the county to make the fuel.
The plant will be built on a 15-acre parcel of land along the Ohio River. It would be the largest ammonia-making plant in the country. It could emit less than 1,000 parts per billion, far less than the national standard of 4,700 parts per billion.
The plant, which is being built by a company called Ammonia Technologies and will not take emissions from another source into account, would cost about $2.5 billion and create about 9,000 jobs, the company said in a statement.
State officials say they could use the waiver to build more pollution-control devices to meet increasingly stringent federal air standards that are set to take effect in 2022.
“We are very pleased that the commission has requested a waiver for Ammonia’s plan and look forward to working with them,” said Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William Strickland.
“The commission has indicated that while their request is not for an unlimited waiver, it is, in fact, what they want, so it is in line with what we’ve been discussing at the state and federal level for months. So, we look forward to working with them on it.”
But others say the request has little chance for approval.
“If you asked the average citizen what their ideal state to live in is, it’s not a state where you can get an unlimited waiver,” said Tim White, president of Clean Air Action.
“We don’t want unlimited waivers; we want a plan that’s as cost effective as possible and as much of a benefit to the environment as possible.”
The request by Ohio Commissioners of Environmental Quality says the county has an outstanding air quality violation and need to make the