NEW ALBANY, Ohio (WCMH) – The public has a chance to weigh in on Intel’s environmental impact.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is holding a public hearing Tuesday evening before it grants Intel a permit to build and operate its new semiconductor chip factory in New Albany. Leading up to the hearing, the agency’s spokesperson said it has spent months gathering intel on Intel.
“As with everything, there are companies that are very cooperative and good to work with, and somewhere we are kind of working a little harder to get the information that we need,” said Ohio EPA’s Heidi Griesmer. “But Intel has been — been very good to work with as far as giving us the information that we need.”
The hearing will take place at Jersey Baptist Church, located at 13260 Morse Rd. in New Albany, at 6 p.m. If approved, this permit would establish limits on different air pollutants, such as a limit of more than 1.8 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, according to the documentation for the proposal.
Linda Qian, the spokesperson covering public affairs and sustainability at Intel, said the emissions limits in the permit reflect estimates that are double the amount expected to come from Intel’s current project.
“Our permit is actually for four factories, but right now we’re focused on the first two that we announced in January,” Qian said. “Adding four factories to the permit does give us the flexibility to move faster. Now, the [New Albany] site does have the capability to hold eight factories, and so we would need to go through the permit process again if we were to expand to the full eight.”
The public comment window will be open for a week, closing Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 5 p.m. Anyone unable to attend the public hearing can submit a comment by emailing the EPA’s Pam McCoy, or by sending her snail mail to: Ohio EPA Central District Office, PO Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43216.
“Public participation is a very important part of the process at the Ohio EPA when we are considering whether to issue or deny a permit,” Griesmer said.
Qian said Intel will have representatives at Tuesday’s hearing.
“The Ohio EPA sets air emissions to ensure human health and safety, and Intel will operate within these limits, using the best available technology and ongoing monitoring,” Qian said. “Environmental responsibility and the health and safety of our workforce and community are a top priority. And we’re going to work with regulators throughout the permitting process to meet or exceed all applicable requirements.”
Intel is holding a groundbreaking for its Ohio operation on Friday, Sept. 9. President Joe Biden is expected to attend.