In April 2010 south-central Pennsylvanians were told that Perdue planned to help local farmers by buying their soybeans and safely crushing them into oil for use in cooking and in food products.
The crushing would also be done locally in a 35-job-creating, harmless-sounding:
Planned to be built on a field along the Susquehanna River near Three Mile Island, Perdue's soybean factory was pleasantly advertised as:
"a permitted use [that] fits the ag characteristics of the area"
Perdue added that it was helping the environment by letting farmers truck their soybeans locally.
THE TOXIC TRUTH
Gov. Tom Corbett confirmed awarding multibillion-dollar Perdue $8.75 million from Pa. taxpayers for its factory -- before the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection even started considering Perdue's request that the factory be permitted to daily and permanently discharge large amounts of toxic, waste hexane into Pa. air.
And before Perdue chose a sinkhole-containing Lancaster County site for its explosion-prone, chemical-using, chemical-storing, and chemical-releasing factory, The American Lung Association had already ranked Lancaster County among the very worst of 200 polluted areas in the entire United States.
Neither the governor nor taxpayer-subsidized Perdue mentioned Perdue's history of rewarding taxpayers by dumping enormous amounts of waste hexane directly into their air. Records revealed that from 2000 to 2010 Perdue released over 5 million pounds of hazardous hexane from just two soybean-processing plants in Virginia and Maryland.
Also unmentioned was Perdue's history of involvement with polluting, corn-ethanol factories that received millions of dollars in corporate welfare and then went broke, leaving taxpayers holding even more costly bags.
When the public asked Perdue to use something called a "scrubber" to keep its proposed new soybean factory from releasing hexane, Perdue declined. To its credit, Perdue did, however, eventually admit that its Lancaster factory might be used to make oil for taxpayer-subsidized fuel like biodiesel!
What had been carefully represented to Pa. as a wholesome agricultural asset turned out to be another taxpayer-financed, industrial, unsafe, unhealthy, and unnecessary version of Love Canal in a pretty new dress.
THE TOXIC AIR
After a Pa. public hearing and unprecedented public complaints, the Pa. DEP permitted Perdue to yearly release 245 tons of hexane into Susquehanna Valley air. Perdue then oddly withdrew that permit and asked for another to release a total of 208 tons of pollutants. In what was then called "clearing up some confusion," and "clearing the air," DEP then assured Pa. residents that Perdue would be limited to releasing only 104 tons of hexane a year.
But any company releasing "only" 104 yearly tons of hexane is in fact releasing 10 timeswhat the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls a major source of:
"a toxic air pollutant [that] can cause permanent nerve damage in humans....
Major sources are those that emit more than 10 tons a year of a single air toxic or more than 25 tons a year of a combination of air toxics. All solvent extraction plants that use hexane are major sources.
-- From “Final Air Toxics Rule for Solvent Extraction in Vegetable Oil Production” at this April 3, 2001 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency site:
"PERDUE FACTORY IN HOLDING PATTERN"
On May 16, 2014 the Central Penn Business Journal reported that:
1. According to DEP's Lisa Kasianowitz, further amendments to Perdue's plan are likely, plus yet another public-comment period and hearing.
2. But according to Perdue's Kurt Knaus, Perdue can't take any steps until the DEP makes a decision.
Does that sound like another cute Catch-22?
The entire, above, 4-year scenario is a blatantly unfair, nonstop outrage that continues to threaten Pa. farm families and all other families with having to needlessly and permanently breathe even more foul air than they breathe now.
And the Journal article is politely titled "Perdue factory in holding pattern."