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Merck & Co., Inc.

Letter from Warren G. Heidt to Robin Moran

Coors Brewing Company
Shenandoan Brewery
P.O. Box 25
Elkton, Virginia 22827
(540) 289-8000

May 11, 1997

Ms. Robin Moran
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region III
Air, Radiation & Toxics Division
841 Chestnut Street (3AT23)
Philadelphia, PA 19107-4431

re: Comments on Proposed Rule: Project XL Site-Specific Rulemaking for Merck & Co. Inc. Stonewall Plant

Dear Ms. Moran:

The Shenandoah Brewery of the Coors Brewing Company is providing comments on the Proposed Final Project Agreement (FPA) under the Project XL Program for the Merck & Company's Stonewall Plant in Elkton, Virginia. The Shenandoah Brewery is located adjacent to the Stonewall Plant, shares the same air and water resources, and provides economic benefits to the same communities. We ask that Coors as well as other industries in the area be considered significant stakeholders to the outcome and implementation of this proposal. When Coors became aware of the development of this Project XL proposal, we approached both the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ) and the EPA to gain participation in its development because of its potential impact on the future of our Brewery. Unfortunately, we were denied a stakeholder status and instructed to comment during the public comment period.

Coor's recognizes the significance of the goals of Project XL in developing permitting reforms. We have considerable experience working with state agencies and the EPA through the complex permitting procedures for new and expanding facilities. Presumably, the reforms being considered will have transferability and be of benefit to other industries, particularly those sharing the same resources. We support the general approach taken with this proposed agreement and look forward to the EPA releasing specific information on how this project will benefit other industries currently not engaged in an XL project effort, but faced with the same regulatory burdens with regard to obtaining and complying with environmental permits.

With regard to the proposed Project XL Agreement, we have one major concern with the use of compliance alternatives for future regulations. The VADEQ may adopt new regulations for State Implementation Plan (SIP) revisions. SIP revisions may be required to reduce actual emissions to provide for attainment and maintenance of the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQSs) or the prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) of air quality increments. In no case should alternative approaches to complying with new requirements be allowed to shift the control burden of any new regulations that might likely result from a potential nonattainment situation with the present standard or with the EPA's proposed new standard for ozone.

The Preamble to the March 31, 1997 Federal Register notice indicates that EPA presumes that Merck will not be enjoined in the event that VOC and NOx emissions reductions are needed for an attainment demonstration. It further states that other sources may have to make up for the actual emission reductions because of the insulation provided to Merck. The March 31, 1997 Federal Register notice only addresses changes to the PSD and the NSPS programs of EPA's air programs. Project XL programs should also address the potential for the area becoming nonattainment for ozone or any other pollutants. We believe this to be a potentially serious deficiency in the EPA's approval of a Project XL program.

In order to make clear there will be an equitable responsibility for possible future controls, we recommend EPA's work with state agencies to develop a strategy that prevents a Project XL Program from placing other industries at an economic disadvantage if a nonattainment problem should arise.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important rulemaking.



Warren G. Heidt
Principal Engineer

Cc: Mr. Larry Simmons
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Valley Regional Office

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