Ecology invites public comment on Cosmo mill permit

Additional Environmental Protection Agency reporting requirements for air quality are being proposed for the Cosmo Specialty Fibers pulp mill in Cosmopolis as the mill goes about renewing its five-year operating permit.

The state Department of Ecology, which is in charge of administering the EPA standards, is inviting public comment on the updated permit and has set a public information meeting for Jan. 29.

The comment period lasts through Feb. 14.

The public meeting, followed by a chance to comment on the permit renewal, is at 6:30 p.m. at Grays Harbor College, Rooms 413 A and B, 1620 Edward P. Smith, according to a DOE public comment notice.

The meeting and the comments will pertain to the specific changes to the permit.

Here are some of the changes DOE is proposing:

■ Updating requirements for emission units that cause air pollution.

■ Adding the new Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) regulations for the power boiler.

■ Removing exemptions from limits during startup, shutdown and malfunction periods.

■ Requiring electronic submittal of files.

■ Administrative updates to clarify requirements.

The big change for this five-year cycle is the boiler (Maximum Achievable Control Technology), said Arne Peterson, Cosmo Specialty Fibers Environmental Engineer.

The change was made to the permit due to added EPA regulations, according to Ha Tran, an environmental engineer at the DOE.

“It was implemented a couple of years ago and now they’re rolling it into our air permit,” said Peterson.

It means the mill will have more reporting to do, said Peterson, adding that the mill had to do an energy audit of the boiler.

“We did not have to install any new equipment, but we have new EPA limits to meet,” he explained.

The Cosmo mill employs about 200 workers and makes about 500 tons of dissolving pulp each day from hemlock wood chips, according to the DOE’s support document for the permit. The draft permit, support document and public comment notice are available on the DOE’s page for the mill: https://ecology.wa.gov/Regulations-Permits/Permits-certifications/Industrial-facilities-permits/Cosmo-Specialty-Fibers