LETTER: DEP should deny Perdue’s permit

Chairman Mike Martin explains his position as residents discuss imposing environmental safeguards for a proposed Perdue soybean crushing facility in Lancaster during a Township Supervisors Meeting at the Hellam Township Office in Hellam, Pa. on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.

Clean air is a birthright guaranteed to PA citizens by the PA Constitution. We could lose this birthright to large corporations like Perdue Agribusiness that want to dump toxic waste chemicals into the air we breathe. Perdue wants to build a soybean extraction facility in Conoy Township that would emit large amounts of hexane, a toxic chemical that can damage nerves and lungs especially in young children and the elderly.

To build this facility, Perdue must obtain an air quality permit from the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which is currently reviewing Perdue's permit application. In this permit application, Perdue is essentially asking the DEP to give away the people's right to clean air and ignore the Clean Air Act standards designed to protect the public's health. This giveaway can be avoided, however, if the DEP requires Perdue to follow Clean Air Act regulations that would greatly reduce the hexane air pollution from their proposed Conoy soybean processing facility.

As part of their DEP permit application, Perdue has submitted a badly flawed and deceptive health impact study that fails to consider the effect of hexane exposure on a wide range of vulnerable human populations such as young children, pregnant women, the elderly and persons with pre-existing nerve and lung diseases such as asthma and emphysema.

Should this multi-billion dollar corporation be allowed to take away our right to clean air and profit from polluting the air we breathe while ignoring the increased health care expenses and suffering this could cost the public? Common sense says no.

Without the requirement for effective hexane pollution controls, Perdue's air quality permit application should be denied by the DEP.


Retired cancer research biochemist,

Hellam Township