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Exide Reading plant operating amid permit issue

Keywords: Tags  Exide Technologies, Reading, Department of Environmental Protection, air permit, battery recycling, Daniel Fitzgerald


NEW YORK — Exide Technologies said production at the company’s Reading, Pa., lead battery recycling plant has not been impacted by a recent court ruling that remanded the facility’s air permit back to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board ruled last week that “the department erred by failing to properly determine whether ... fugitive emissions could be permitted” when renewing the Title V air permit in September 2010.

“Exide did not demonstrate, and the department failed to meaningfully determine before it renewed Exide’s Title V permit, that Exide’s fugitive emissions are of minor significance with respect to causing air pollution and that they are not preventing or interfering with the attainment of the ambient air quality standard for lead,” the ruling said. “The department assumed without any scientific basis for doing so, and without any data or meaningful numeric estimates, that Exide’s fugitive emissions were ‘negligible’ and ‘rather small.’”

The ruling noted that Exide is currently “in the process of making major improvements to its facility” in Reading, which will include the addition of “a new overall facility enclosure” to capture fugitive emissions.

The ruling “does not impact our operations in Reading or any of our future plans previously announced,” an Exide spokeswoman told AMM. “The permit was not revoked or suspended and remains in effect as it did prior to the ruling. We are operating in compliance with the permit and will continue to do so. We will work with the Pennsylvania DEP going forward, as we have done in the past.”

The Milton, Ga.-based company announced in November that it would idle the Reading plant by March 31, 2013, citing “the high capital investment needed, due to regulatory requirements, to remain operational” (amm.com, Nov. 9).

The company also said it would maintain the permitting for the Reading facility, having adopted a similar approach for the Baton Rouge, La., facility it idled in 2009.

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