FOLLANSBEE, W.Va. (WTRF) – A controversy is brewing in Follansbee over the possible arrival of a medical waste facility on the site of the former Koppers Chemical Facility.

A company called Empire Green Generation wants to operate a waste-to-energy facility that will turn medical waste into fuel using what’s called a pyrolysis process.

Follansbee Council approved a building permit last spring, but tonight’s meeting by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection was about their “intent to approve” an air quality permit for the facility, and to take in the public’s response.

Officials with the WV Department of Environmental Protection say a preliminary evaluation indicates the facility will meet state and Federal air quality requirements, but many local residents that spoke at the meeting tonight do not appear to be sold on the project.

This facility was described at the Follansbee City Council as a no-emissions, self-contained facility when submitting the building application. Yet we’re here at this public hearing today for the notice of the intent to approve an air quality permit because this facility will in fact be made particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds, and operated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This misrepresentation alone should be grounds for the Council to revoke the building permit.”

Resident against the facility speaking at Wednesday’s meeting

If you couldn’t make Wednesday’s meeting, you still have time to make a written comment to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Send them to “Edward S. Andrews, WV Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Air Quality, 601 57th Street, SE, Charleston, WV 25304. The phone number is 304-926-0499, ext. 41244. Reach out via email at edward.s.andrews@wv.gov

All written comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 3.

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