EGLE taking comment on air quality rules at Kzoo plant

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The state’s environmental agency has announced several new air quality regulation proposals for a Kalamazoo plant that neighbors blame for health problems.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy has proposed several changes to Graphic Packaging International’s air permit:

  • Replacing a large boiler with two smaller ones,
  • Limiting natural gas further,
  • Adding new natural gas-fired precoat calendar heaters and a cooling tower,
  • Changing stack designs for a paper machine,
  • Increasing the annual allowed emissions of volatile compounds,
  • And adding facility emission limits.

EGLE explained that Graphic Packaging got an air permit in March when it installed a new recycled paperboard manufacturing process. Alterations to design during construction prompted the proposed rule changes.

EGLE will hold a virtual information session about the changes at 6 p.m. Oct. 15. You can attend online via Zoom or call in at 213.787.0529 with code 881478.

The agency will take public comment on the proposal through Oct. 23. You can email, leave a voicemail at 517.248.0900 or mail a letter to Annette Switzer, Permit Section Manager, EGLE, AQD, P.O. Box 30260, Lansing, MI 48909.

Neighbors say the plant has long emitted an odor and they believe gas emissions have led to health problems like asthma and COPD. EGLE says it has issued eight odor violations for the GPI Kalamazoo site in the last decade, but never issued a fine.