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New site for N. Idaho asphalt plant spurs concerns

A plan to build an asphalt plant near the Washington/Idaho border at Stateline is raising some concerns about health and public safety from residents living near the proposed site.

“Emissions from asphalt plants can be unhealthy, especially for kids,” said Charles Ellis, a resident who lives on the Washington side near the proposed site. “I don’t want to smell asphalt.”

Also, East Farms Elementary School in East Valley School District is within a mile, he said.

Coeur d’Alene Paving is seeking permission to rezone 116 acres west of Post Falls from agricultural to mining for a potential site to relocate its asphalt batch plant. The location would be on Beck Road behind the Stateline Speedway. The plant is currently located in Rathdrum.

Kootenai County commissioners are scheduled to hold a public hearing at 9 a.m. today regarding the company’s request.

Lisa Woodard, a spokeswoman for the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency, said an asphalt plant releases unstable organic compounds, toxic air pollutants and combustion emissions – carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides – and dust from the handling of the materials.

“The main concerns are offsite transport of odor and dust and the potential odors from the flow of trucks,” she added.

The Spokane agency has concerns about the potential ramifications on nearby Washington residents. The agency sent comments to Kootenai County commissioners on Wednesday, she said. “We will encourage them to have additional controls. Any time there’s a facility going in a populated area we have a concern.”

Commissioners will likely get plenty of testimony from residents as well, according to the Coeur d’Alene Press.

Post Falls resident Hayley Lake told the Press concerns about the plan are not being heard.

Lake says residents are worried about added exposure to fumes, increased traffic and noise, and more changes to the once wide-open nature of the area.

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