A new proposal for a silica smelter in Newport, WA, is raising alarms. The smelter, proposed by HiTest Sand, could have far-reaching effects on air quality and public health in Bonner and Boundary counties in Idaho.
Emissions from the smelter would likely include nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and other toxic air pollutants, many of which are linked to increased risk of asthma, lung disease, and environmental damage. The prevailing winds in the region could carry these emissions from Newport directly into Bonner and Boundary counties.
Furthermore, Bonner and Boundary counties are inherently vulnerable to bad air quality because of geography and weather patterns. In the winter, inversions can trap pollutants in a layer of stagnant air that lingers for days. It’s up to communities to speak up for stringent air quality standards.
Take action now to ask that HiTest Sand collect adequate data on local air quality conditions and weather patterns for at least a year before moving forward with an air permit application. It is imperative that any air permit be based on adequate site-specific data.
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