DEQ issues new date for public hearing on barge cleaning facility

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Officials have delayed a public hearing about the impact of a barge cleaning facility in Baton Rouge.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality announced the meeting will now be held on August 13 in the Oliver Pollock Room in the Galvez Building on North 5th Street at 6 p.m. A spokesman added the public comment has been extended to August 31.

Mayor Kip Holden sent a letter to DEQ on Wednesday asking for a delay in order to have more time to figure out the impact the facility will have on LSU and nearby homes. The hearing was originally scheduled for July 14.

A Texas-based company called Tubal-Cain Marine Services hopes to build the facility on 33 acres of the levee near Brightside Drive.

Cleaning barges requires offloading the cargo, flaring any leftover toxic chemicals and releasing any non-toxic chemicals. That process will require a permit from the Department of Environmental Quality, and the company applied for a "minor source air permit." That means the company is limited on how many emissions can be released.

While the area Tubal-Cain hopes to develop is zoned as industrial, there are homes and recreational spots nearby. Within three miles of the sight sits Alex Box Stadium and even Brusly High School on the other side of the river. Directly next to the site is BREC's Farr Park Equestrian Center and a nesting spot for bald eagles.

Many people are uneasy about any chemicals potentially heading their way.

Residents wishing to comment can either do so at the meeting or submit their statement in writing online.

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