Grandview group claims asphalt plant creates health problems

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GRANDVIEW, Mo. -- Citing serious concerns about air quality in the area around the Ideker asphalt plant, the group calling itself Concerned Citizens for Air Impact Reduction (CCAIR) filed a lawsuit last week to force compliance with federal and Missouri state air quality regulations.

The lawsuit asks for a temporary restraining order to halt issuance of the new permit and to let a  Jackson County court judge decide if the process followed to review the plant’s permit application complied with EPA rules and regulations.

According to the CCAIR, air quality experts discovered the asphalt plant, located at 5600 E. 150 Highway in Kansas City, emits pollutants including nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and fine particulate matter at levels that exceeded safety limits.  All of these pollutants are associated with serious respiratory ailments and other health issues, especially for children and the elderly, CCAIR said in a press release.

“As a property owner, and coming from five generations that lived, worked and played in Grandview,  I am appalled that this plant was allowed to receive a permit to operate, in light of the fact that the plant produces pollutants above EPA standards,” Kathy Wilson Sutoris, the president of CCAIR, said in a statement.

“As a retired elementary school teacher for the Grandview C-4 school district, who taught in the community for 32 years, I have a vested interest in the health of all the children in this area, and putting children at risk is unacceptable,” she said.

In addition, the group claims the plant could affect property values, negatively impacting the city of Grandview's economic future.

The plant’s original permit was issued in June of 2012 by the City of Kansas City acting as an agent for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MoDNR).  Since then, air quality experts have found there were inaccuracies in calculations that predict plant emissions, as well as the ambient impact limits, according to CCAIR.

Before the permit was issued and site approved by Kansas City and MoDNR, the Grandview School District, Grandview Chamber of Commerce, City of Grandview, and others expressed serious concerns about potential air pollution to air quality officials.  Despite the concerns, the permit was issued anyway.

Last year, the City of Grandview, on behalf of the many concerned parties, retained environmental experts to review the documents related to the permit.  These experts concluded the asphalt plant is operating  at air-quality levels that exceed safety limits established by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Ideker filed an application earlier this year for a permit to operate their plant permanently at the site.

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