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UNION BRIDGE - James E. Slater Jr., director of the Department of Natural Resources Protection, descussed Lehigh Portland Cement Co.'s plans to burn carbon waste material at its plant here.

The company has applied for a state permit to burn the non-hazardous carbon fuel instead of coal.

"The material is no worse than the coal the company is burning now," said Slater at the Town Council meeting Monday. "The state will continue to conduct emissions monitoring, too."

The state Department of the Environment will schedule a public hearing in town before issuing the permit. The town and the County Commissioners have sent requests to the state asking for an information session preceding that hearing, Slater added.

He said he will review a copy of Lehigh's appliction. About 25 cment companies across the country are burning carbon, he added.

The kilns burn at such high temperatures very little survives," he said.

"I'm not going to tell you there are no emissions, though."

He advised the council to prepare questions for the company's consultants.

"Do your homework and ask as amany questions as you want at the hearing," he said.

In other business: Town Attorney John Maguire said the state Board of Public Works is reviewing all projects, including the Bowman Springs application. The state had offered the town a $70,000 grant to help pay for hooking about 29 homes into the town's water system. Maguire said the town should send a letter urging the governor to support the project.

"Surveying and engineering contracts have been awarded," said Maguire.

"We have taken an aggressive tact and want to get things going."

A public hearing on the annexation of the G. Jackson Phillips property will be at 7 p.m. Jan. 10 at the Community Center.

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