HIGH STAKES PUBLIC HEARING TO ADDRESS CEMEX LYONS, BOULDER COUNTY’S TOP GREENHOUSE GAS POLLUTER
Community Calls for Action on Expired Environmental Permit Amidst Regulatory Concerns
Lyons, CO (December 27, 2023) — A public hearing before the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) is set to cast a spotlight on the environmental oversight of Boulder County’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, CEMEX Lyons. Orchestrated by Good Neighbors of Lyons, a dedicated grassroots organization, the meeting is slated for Friday, January 5, 2024, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM via Zoom, and will dissect pressing issues regarding the plant’s expired Title V permit, specifically its outdated and inadequate monitoring practices, loopholes, compliance failures, and lax penalties that have been proven ineffective.
“The Title V program is intended to protect local communities and our environment; Cemex’s draft Title V falls woefully short of those Objectives,” said Sarah Lorang, a Lyons local and Good Neighbors Co-founder. “Our aim is for the AQCC to champion the needs of local communities by amending Cemex’s permit to mandate more rigorous monitoring, reduce permissible emission levels, and levy significant penalties for infractions. Specifically, we seek tangible corrective measures rather than the current system, which essentially operates as a pay-to-pollute program.”
Mayor Hollie Rogin of Lyons emphasizes the importance of this hearing, stating, “This is our community’s opportunity to be heard. We will no longer tolerate unaddressed risks to our physical and environmental health. The current drop-in-the-bucket fine system certainly doesn’t mitigate the effects of breathing cement kiln dust, and it doesn’t move the needle when it comes to climate change.”
In addition to local community involvement, representatives from Boulder County Public Health have indicated their intention to testify at the hearing, bringing expert insights into the potential health and environmental impacts of the plant’s operations. While the Board of Boulder County Commissioners has not confirmed their attendance at the hearing, they have actively engaged in the process by providing written comments on the Title V permit last month, largely echoing the concerns raised by Boulder County Public Health.
CEMEX Lyons is a 54-year old, coal-fired cement plant that has been enjoying outdated air quality standards for decades in an area with ozone “Severe Nonattainment” status as of November 17, 2022. Cemex’s Title V was last updated in 2017, but needs major modifications in order to adhere to best available standards for pollution control. The scrutiny of Title V Operating Permits is a familiar issue in Colorado; the EPA partially dismissed two applications by Suncor Energy in July 2023 due to failures in demonstrating compliance with the Clean Air Act requirements.
The public hearing provides an opportunity for Colorado residents concerned about air quality and regulatory accountability to hold Boulder County’s top greenhouse gas emitter accountable to a higher, more modern, standard.
Event Registration: All Colorado residents are encouraged to attend and speak at the public hearing on January 5, 2024. Participants must pre-register for the Zoom.
See CDPHE for further Documents.
Good Neighbors Lyons is a group of neighbors who live, work, and play in Lyons’ Eastern Corridor, near CEMEX Lyons. We want what’s best for the Town of Lyons, Boulder County, and the larger community, which currently involves getting CEMEX Lyons — Boulder County’s #1 polluter — compliant with all Local, State, and Federal regulatory agencies.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this Opinion Column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any staff member, contributing writer, or the Lyons Recorder. The article is presented for the readers’ information and entertainment purposes.