N.C. Division of Air Quality to Hold Public Hearing on Proposed Fumigation Facility in Morehead City

RALEIGH – The N.C. Division of Air Quality will schedule a public hearing on a proposed fumigation facility at the state port in Morehead City, but has not yet determined the specific timing and location.

Sheila Holman, director of the Division of Air Quality, said the division will hold the hearing in the Morehead City area and provide at least 30 days advance notice with details about the meeting and the draft permit for the facility.

“The Division of Air Quality has received numerous messages from citizens in the Morehead City area about the proposed fumigation facility at the state port,” Holman said.  “We appreciate those concerns and will make sure that the public has opportunities to review plans for the facility and the draft air quality permit, when available.”

Royal Fumigation, also known as Royal Pest Solutions, has applied for an air quality permit to operate a fumigation facility for logs destined for export from the state port in Morehead City. The facility as proposed would use methyl bromide gas to treat logs covered by tarps to contain the gases.

Methyl bromide is a gas widely used in agriculture and industry to kills insects, weeds and other pests. For example, it has been used to sterilize soil and kill pests in commodities such as tobacco and wood before shipping them overseas.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies methyl bromide as a hazardous air pollutant, or HAP. Facilities that could emit 10 tons/year of any HAP or 25 tons/year of any combination of HAPs must receive a federal Title V air permit in order to operate. The fumigation facility at the state port could emit as much as 140 tons of methyl bromide per year as proposed.

The state Division of Air Quality is still analyzing the permit application and has requested more information from Royal Fumigation. The division will use that information – along with an analysis of comparable facilities in other states – to develop a draft permit for public review. That process could take several months.

More information on air quality issues can be found at the state Division of Air Quality’s website, www.ncair.org .

Royal Fumigation may need other state and federal permits to operate, depending on the scope of the project.

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