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Mint Valley Paper President Mark Schneider gives a presentation on the proposed facility at the Dallas Economic Development Commission.

DALLAS — Mint Valley Paper is awaiting a decision on its Department of Environmental Quality air contaminant discharge permit.

That step is necessary for the company to complete financing for its $300 million facility proposed for what is now an empty field near Godsey and Monmouth Cutoff roads.

The comment period for the DEQ permit has ended, said Katherine Benenati, spokeswoman for DEQ’s western region.

“DEQ hasn’t made a decision on the permit yet, but expects to as early as this week,” Benenati said.

The permit will set limitations on emissions from the plant and spell out compliance testing, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements.

Mint Valley President Mark Schneider gave a presentation on its proposed facility to the city Economic Development Commission on March 14. He said the company still has some hurdles to clear before it can break ground.

“I don’t want you guys to go away thinking that this project is a done deal. We have challenges in front of us here yet. We’re still working,” he said. “Completing the planning is a key element for us, but, like anything, when you’re building a home, you have to access to the property and the right to build a home on it before you get to build a home. We’re in that situation.”

Deirdre Schneider, with Mint Valley Paper, said once the DEQ permit is in hand, the company can focus on securing funding. She said many banks won’t issue financing until permits are approved.

Mark Schneider said that of the many sites the company looked at, Dallas rose to the top because of its recycled water project that will enable the facility to reuse water treated at its wastewater treatment plant for limited uses, including manufacturing.

“Dallas had already thought about this,” Mark Schneider said. “You already had plans for it. My hat is off to you guys.”

Dallas Economic Development Director AJ Foscoli said it’s an opportunity to sell recycled water instead of discharging it back into Rickreall Creek as the city does now.

“For every gallon that they use in their plant, half of it goes back to our wastewater treatment plant and gets recycled again and gets sent back,” Foscoli said. “It’s a pretty efficient system that we are going to be upgrading at the wastewater treatment plant, because it means that we actually get to use our wastewater multiple times.”

The city’s planning decision approving the proposal was not appealed by the deadline and deemed final on March 8, Foscoli said.

“I definitely would attribute that to the very well-worded and well-crafted decision by our Planning Director Scott Whyte,” Foscoli said. “He took all of the comments from the community into account, and he went back to the company and said these are the things that are concerning our community. I’m going to write several conditions of approval.”

He said the company agreed to the conditions, ending a process that Foscoli has been involved in for some time.

“It’s been going for quite a while. I started working this project before I was even hired by the city of Dallas, so it’s been going on two and half years,” Foscoli said.

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(2) comments

Arthur Wellesley

The entire Mint Valley project is value ADDED to the community. Highest and best use of industrial property; increased tax base, transportation and infrastructure improvements that benefit the entire community; construction employment; permanent operating employment; new banking customers; new insurance customers; new restaurant and retail customers... The real question is - why are NIMBY's trying to invent downside to all this positive value being added to Dallas? Falsely creating fear and doubt contributes no value to Dallas.

What Me Worry

"..we are going to be upgrading at the wastewater treatment plant..." said Dallas Economic Development Director AJ Foscoli.

As a Dallas resident, I ask, "At what cost?" Our extortionate water bills already have extra, mandatory fees to support fire and police, levied without consent of the voters. And now we will have to pay into the profits of a company requiring additional infrastructure?

It wouldn't raise so many red flags if this project weren't rammed down the citizens' throats from behind closed doors, without a proper public hearing. And it was all sewn up without appeal, due to stringent limitations placed on respondents, who by the way, overwhelmingly did not approve the project. ("The city received 15 comments from citizens, with one in approval." polkio.com 2/27/19)

Further, the city planners left emails unanswered from citizens who wanted to know what chemicals would be employed by Mint Valley. Will we risk disaster by having stockpiles of toxic chemicals in railroad tank cars and trucks next to the site? Are we willing to risk our children in nearby schools, our neighbors next door?

Do we want to upset the tranquility of our bedroom community with rumbling pumps, chemical-laden steam, noisy semi-trucks, stagnant holding ponds and possible rail traffic hauling toxic chemicals?

Do we want to risk our quality of life here in Dallas? What is the real cost of this project?

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