Group a no-show at silicon plant meeting

news_inthenews_greenBy Dennis Seid
Daily Journal

IUKA – A scheduled meeting Saturday morning to discuss alleged health risks with a silicon metal plant under construction in Tishomingo County was a bust, as only two people showed up.

And they left at 30 minutes after the scheduled 10 a.m. meeting when no one else appeared, including the event organizer.

The meeting was arranged by Graham, North Carolina-based Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, which earlier in the week had called on local residents to press state regulators to hold a hearing on what it believes is health risks connected to the Mississippi Silicon plant under construction in nearby Burnsville.

The BREDL said that the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality issued the permit for construction to Mississippi Silicon before receiving final air quality analysis. The group said the report includes information on polluting air emissions coming from submerged arc furnaces that burn coal, wood and quartz.

Construction of Mississippi Silicon’s plant is underway. The facility is expected to be completed and begin operations in the next 12 to 18 months. Company officials expect to employ 210 people.

MDEQ officials stood by the issuance of the permit in February after a company in Alabama raised questions about the environmental impact of the plant. Officials said the permit meets requirements under state law and protects the public and the environment.