As a member of Ashtabula County Water Watch, and an Ashtabula resident who lives about 1,300 feet downwind of where the proposed Petmin pig iron plant will be sited, I’m very disappointed in Shelley Terry’s coverage of the Ohio EPA public hearing on Petmin’s second version of their air pollution permit.

This second permit proposes to emit higher levels of all pollutants than the original permit, and 5-6 times more pollution of certain chemicals such as particulate matter, carbon monoxide and greenhouse gases.

In the article published last Friday, May 8, Terry gave voice to the Ohio EPA, and City Manager Jim Timonere, who didn’t even submit comments or questions at the hearing, but failed to cover in any detail the more than 57 questions and comments submitted by ACWW and other opposed residents.

Members of ACWW have spent the last several months reading, researching and analyzing the 95-page draft permit.  They also consulted an air pollution scientist from UCLA, received a $5,000 grant through the Center for Environmental Health and Justice to educate and inform the public, and have begun purchasing their own network of air monitoring equipment in preparation for this public hearing.

Not only did Terry not give voice to any of the wide-ranging and meticulously researched concerns voiced by ACWW and others, she seems to have copied and pasted quotes from Timonere from a previous article published in April, and also misled readers about how many people attended the hearing.

Terry stated that “more than 45 people attended the virtual hearing,” but when asked towards the close of the meeting, the EPA host stated that at least 82 people had joined the meeting at some point. 

I appreciate the Star Beacon’s coverage of this issue in the past and the continued effort to inform the public, especially through these trying times.

However, this article is really one-sided and damaging to the public understanding of the Petmin project and its very real environmental and public health consequences. We look forward to better coverage of this topic in the future, especially when the Ohio EPA responds to our more than 57 questions in writing before the final permit is issued.

The public may view questions submitted by ACWW on our website, www.acww.us.

Sarah Brower

Ashtabula

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