UNICOI — Summers-Taylor Materials Corp. has revised its application for an air quality permit to expand operations at the former Construction Asphalt Paving Services plant in Unicoi.

The company submitted the revised application to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Air Quality Control on July 17, resulting in the cancellation of a TDEC public hearing previously scheduled for July 28.

In a letter to Unicoi residents dated July 27, TDEC states the application is currently under review.

“Should the application be deemed complete and if the company indicates a desire to continue with the project, TDEC will publish a revised public notice with a new public comment period and schedule a public meeting at a later date.”

The town of Unicoi joined in the request for a public hearing in June following a Unicoi Planning Commission meeting in which town residents addressed concerns including:

• An increase in emissions beyond those permitted by the state since the plant began operations in the 1990s.

• Increases in noise and truck traffic that could negatively impact property values.

• Detrimental impacts on the quality of life, health and property values of residents of more than 100 families who live near the plant.

• TDEC’s failure to publish a notice of Summers-Taylor initial application for a permit to expand operations in Unicoi in a newspaper likely to be read by Unicoi County residents and subsequent award of that permit.

• Summers-Taylor purchase of property adjoining the plant and town zoning ordinances that prohibit asphalt plants outside the two-acre CAPS site.

Summers-Taylor Response

Summers-Taylor President Grant Summers addressed what he said were misconceptions about the permit applications at a June 13 meeting of Unicoi Board of Mayor and Aldermen, saying:

• The company will dismantle the existing asphalt plant in Unicoi and operate only one plant at the site rather than two to three plants that citizens said were suggested by its multiple applications for expansion.

• The new plant will produce asphalt more efficiently with less emissions and detrimental impact on the community.

• TDEC published a notice of Summers-Taylor initial application to expand the plant in a Sullivan County newspaper independently and without any input or knowledge of the company.

The Revised Application

Summers-Taylor’s revised application requests a permit to install newer equipment that will operate with natural gas as its primary fuel source, allowing for a cleaner burning production process with less emissions.

TDEC Requests More Information

In a letter dated July 17, the state notified Summers-Taylor its revised application is incomplete and requested the company submit additional information.