Shutdown delays paper-mill hearing
A public hearing scheduled for Tuesday night regarding a state and federal environmental settlement with Georgia-Pacific has been indefinitely postponed because of the federal government shutdown, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality confirmed Friday.
The department said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had scheduled this week’s public hearing on the agencies’ multimillion-dollar consent decree with Georgia-Pacific in Crossett.
The consent decree orders that the company’s Crossett paper mill be fined $600,000 for a 2015 inspection that found leaks and flaws in the company’s management of hazardous air pollutants, such as formaldehyde.
The consent decree orders several additional measures, estimated to cost millions of dollars, based on complaints from residents regarding excessive hydrogen sulfide in the air, which often causes them breathing troubles. Neither the decree nor the inspection state any specific findings or violations related to hydrogen sulfide.
Last year, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported the plant emitted more hydrogen sulfide than the company’s permit allowed. Levels were high enough to create an odor with the potential to cause breathing problems.