Thermaldyne hazardous waste facility in Port Allen opposed by a dozen environmental groups


To: Mr. Elliott Vega Assistant Secretary

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality

Re: Thermaldyne, LLC; Public Hearing Request (AI 198467; LA0127307) 

Dear Mr. Vega,

We, the undersigned, are writing to express our concern regarding Thermaldyne’s desire to construct a hazardous waste treatment, storage or disposal facility in Port Allen, Louisiana. We understand that your agency is now poised to grant Thermaldyne permits, so it may release toxic and carcinogenic materials including benzene, chromium, lead and mercury into our air and water. We understand you are also considering variances that would exempt Thermaldyne from having to handle this refinery waste as the RCRA listed hazardous waste stream it is. The effect of these permits and variance, if granted, would be to allow this company to operate without having to install expensive and more effective pollution controls normally required to handle and treat this hazardous waste.

We oppose this project as proposed. Any new company that wishes to further pollute our air, water, and soil must do the best it can to minimize its impact - not the opposite. In 2018, we oppose granting variances from more protective standards solely for the purpose of profit, at the expense of our health and environment.

We have also reviewed your August 27, 2018 denial of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network(LEAN)’s request to reopen the public comment period on the water permit. You suggest the reason the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) received only one public comment is that “there is no significant degree of public interest in the draft permit.” First, given LEAN’s long history, broad constituency, and specific interest in hazardous waste disposal, LEAN alone does represent a “significant degree of public interest”. Second, we respectfully suggest a different cause for the asserted lack of public comment. The published notice of the draft water permit so inadequately described the project that it unfairly deprived interested citizens and organizations who would otherwise have acted. And there was no public notice or opportunity to comment on the original air permit, because Thermaldyne claimed it would be a minor source. The air and water permit supporting documents fail to describe in any detail the hazardous materials Thermaldyne would take in from oil refineries and the toxics it could well release. Additionally, let this letter assure you that when presented with the facts, there is indeed a significant degree of public interest.

We consider that if DEQ grants permits for this project as proposed, it will be a major setback for our state, posing a risk of public harm in its own right and setting a precedent that other waste disposal operations may exploit.

We, the undersigned, request that DEQ reopen the comment period for the water permit and open, for the first time, a comment period for the air permit, to ensure that all interested members of the public be afforded the opportunity to comment. Proper notification and allowing adequate opportunity for public comment on processes that pose potential threats to human health and the environment are essential for responsible decision making.


Marylee Orr - Executive Director, Louisiana Environmental Action Network

William A. Fontenot - Conservation Chairman Delta Chapter, Sierra Club

Cyn Sarthou - Executive Director, Gulf Restoration Network

Les Ann Kirkland - AWARE, Iberville Parish

Robert Taylor - Concerned Citizens of St. John

Reginald Grace, Sr. - Committee for a Better St. Gabriel

LT General Russel Honore(ret) - GreenArmy

Dean Wilson - Atchafalaya Basinkeeper

Michael Tritico - RESTORE

Stephanie Anthony - LA Democracy Project LA NAACP ECJ Liason

Pastor Harry Joseph - Mt Triumph Baptist Church

Julie DesOrmeaux Rosenzweig, J.D. - Sierra Club Delta Chapter Director