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Environmental Groups Sue Over Holcim Permit


St. Louis, MO – Four environmental groups are suing the Army Corps of Engineers and Holcim, Inc., the company that wants to build the nation's largest cement plant on the Mississippi River.

The lawsuit says the corps should have prepared a so-called environmental impact statement before issuing a permit to destroy wetlands last month. The permit requires Holcim to replace the wetlands it intends to destroy. The plant is slated to be built about 45 miles south of St. Louis in Ste. Genevieve County, very close to the border with Jefferson County.

A corps spokesman says a preliminary study showed the permit could address some minor concerns.

The lawsuit challenges a permit for Swiss-based Holcim (U-S) Inc. to build the proposed plant. The groups say the plant would emit more than 26,000 tons of air pollution each year, obliterate 1,600 acres of forest and industrialize a remaining stretch of natural habitat along the river. Those are reasons, the groups say, for having an environmental impact statement.

A corps spokesman said it had undertaken an environmental assessment, a preliminary step, and concluded that the few issues it had with the plant could be addressed in the permit.