Key elected officials from New York today joined voices to announce their strong support for Lafarge North America Inc.'s plans to make significant investments to modernize its cement manufacturing facility in Coeymans, New York.
Governor David Paterson, Congressman Paul D. Tonko, state Senator Neil D. Breslin, state Assemblyman Tim Gordon, Albany County Executive Michael Breslin, Coeymans Town Supervisor Ronald K. Hotaling, Jr., Ravena Mayor John Bruno and Greene County Legislator Jim Van Slyke all released statements this week supporting the proposed project that, when completed, will produce substantial environmental and economic benefits.
As proposed, the project would upgrade the 47-year-old plant, which already meets stringent state and federal requirements that safeguard human health and the environment, with state-of-the-art air pollution control technology to further reduce specific air emissions and bring about a 41 percent reduction in fuel use per ton of product. The modernized Lafarge Ravena plant would also have continuous monitoring systems installed to ensure constant compliance with stringent emission limits.
"The proposed modification of the Lafarge cement plant is welcome news for New Yorkers," said Governor David A. Paterson. "The improvements will not only make the facility cleaner and more efficient, but will also significantly reduce its mercury emissions. This major investment in New York by Lafarge will improve the plant's environmental performance, create new jobs over the short-term and strengthen the region's industrial base over the long-term."
"I applaud Lafarge for taking the steps necessary to modernize their plant in a fashion that will create the cleanest, most energy efficient plant in North America," said U.S. Rep. Paul D. Tonko (D-Amsterdam). "The new facility will result in better environmental and economic outcomes for Albany County and all of the Capital Region. Since taking over the plant in 2001, Lafarge has made a good-faith effort to curb its emissions, utilize the most advanced environmental technology available through a $20 million investment in emissions technologies, and provide stable and consistent work levels for its employees and the community."
"The modernization of the Lafarge Ravena Plant is an important project in the community," said state Senator Neil D. Breslin (D-Albany). "I have supported this project from the beginning and will continue to do so. I feel that New York State should do whatever possible to ensure that Lafarge go forward with the planned modernization."
"Lowering emissions from the Lafarge Ravena Plant is everybody's business," said state Assemblyman Tim Gordon (I-D-WFP/Bethlehem). "It is essential that the plant's 1960's era production methods be replaced with more sustainable twenty-first century technology so that neighboring communities on both sides of the Hudson River may breathe easier. I encourage Lafarge to continue its investment in modernization and upstate economic development."
"The modernization is a tremendous investment in one of Albany County's great companies," said Albany County Executive Michael Breslin. "Lafarge's overhaul of the outdated cement-making process will create a cleaner environment and protect the nearly 200 jobs at the plant while giving a boost to the economy during the renovation."
"I support the upgrades to the plant because modernization would reduce energy use, increase operating efficiency, improve environmental performance, and help maintain global competitiveness against the growing trends of industry consolidation and global competition," said Jim Van Slyke, a member of the Greene County Legislature.
"As the Supervisor of the Town of Coeymans, in which Lafarge Cement is located, I am pleased to support this significant investment in our community," said Ronald K. Hotaling, Jr., Supervisor of theTown of Coeymans. "I, along with the all Coeymans Town Board members, understand and appreciate the economic contribution to the town, but also equally acknowledge the Lafarge commitment to the environment by pledging to design, construct and operate the new Coeymans Plant in a way that ensures the continued protection of the environment and the health of our residents. Lafarge is a good neighbor and a major part of our past and anticipated future."
"The Village of Ravena and the Village Board strongly support this project," said Mayor John Bruno of Ravena. "The Ravena Plant has been an important part of this community since 1962, and the project will ensure another 50 years of high-quality cement being manufactured in Ravena. This project will bring a more energy-efficient operation with decreased emissions, will create construction jobs, and will ensure over 180 good paying jobs in our community long into the future."
"I fully support approval for a modernized cement plant and view it as a positive both economically and environmentally," said R.J. Strattman, president of the United Steel Workers (USW) Local #4-00429.
The three-year "Ravena Plant Modernization Project" would:Upgrade the existing 47-year-old facility with state-of-the-art technology.Increase its fuel efficiency. Improve its environmental performance. Help protect good paying manufacturing jobs in Upstate New York.Create hundreds of temporary jobs over a three-year construction period. Pump much-needed revenue into the region's economy.
"The proposed investment and modernization of our Ravena cement facility is a win-win project for the region and New York," said Joe Goss, President of the Lafarge United States East Cement Business Unit. "Although the Ravena Plant already complies with all applicable state and federal regulations, Lafarge is committed to meeting or beating world-class environmental and operational standards through the continuous improvement of our facilities. This project would greatly enhance our environmental performance and help keep us competitive and protect jobs in a global economy."
In addition, Lafarge is seeking permits to build an energy generation system that would transform waste-heat into a usable energy source to power the cement production process. Such a green-power system would be the first of its kind installed by Lafarge on a modern cement plant in North America.
When complete,the modernization project will replace the company's existing wet kilns with a newer, more efficient dry kiln process. This would make the Ravena plant the most advanced cement manufacturing facility in the New York state.
The proposed modernization project requires approval from state and federal regulatory agencies and Lafarge North America Inc.'s Board of Directors. A public comment period will begin after regulators thoroughly evaluate Lafarge's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). If approved, construction on the project could begin as early as 2011.
Late last year, the Bethlehem Chamber and Lafarge Ravena Plant established a public information resource Web page for the proposed project. The site provides the public with a free, convenient and transparent method for tracking the project's progress.
Important project-related documents are available for download at www.bethlehemchamber.com/modernization.
For more information about Lafarge North America, go to www.lafarge-na.com