Late last week, the state Department of Environmental Protection approved air quality plans for a tire burning facility in Union County. Some people who live near the proposed facility say they do not want it in the Susquehanna Valley, and are speaking out against it.
Driving through the Milton area, it is hard to miss these signs. They are meant to express how upset people are with plans for a tire burning facility in Union County.
"This is not something that we want in white deer township, in the Susquehanna valley," Rev. Dr. Leah Schade said.
En-Tire Logistics of Milton wants to put the tire burning facility here, next to National Gypsum, in White Deer Township. Late last week, state environmental officials approved air quality plans for the facility. It would burn tires and other fuels to produce electricity and steam for National Gypsum, which manufactures drywall.
About two dozen people recently formed a group called the "Tire Burner Team" to protest the proposed facility. The group has an online petition with almost 300 signatures. The petition asks the governor, lawmakers and National Gypsum to stop the plant from being built.
"Those air pollutants are going to get into our lungs and they are going to be very dangerous to us," Schade said.
Something else the tire burner team is concerned with is how close the proposed facility is to White Deer Elementary School. It is less than 1.5 miles away.
"All those children, all those teachers would be literally in the line of fire from this," Schade said.
Don Joint has more than a dozen of these signs outside his house in Milton. He doesn't think the 35-or-so jobs that would come with the proposed facility are worth it.
"I have a lung problem. How many thousands of people in the retirement home, elementary school, how many people would be affected by this," Don Joint asked.
En-Tire Logistics did not return our calls to comment on what the next step would be for the proposed tire burning facility. DEP plans to hold a meeting with concerned residents sometime in October.
In a news release, the department said it spent 18 months reviewing the application, and is convinced that the plant would not affect air quality.