Public hearing on ABC Coke permit renewal

Air quality continues to be a concern for many people in Tarrant.

They're worried the ABC Coke plant is causing health problems.

The Jefferson County Health Department says the plant is in compliance on a permit that needs to be renewed.

A small space and a public hearing during the work day didn't set well for people speaking out against the renewal of ABC Coke's air permit.

Charlie Powell says "It's sad you got people that work who are property owners and they're not here to defend themselves."

He also says the EPA needs to stop the renewal and others agree saying testing needs to be done. People are worried pollution is causing health problems.

Margaret Curtis lives across the street from the plant at Presbyterian Manor. She says residents are dealing with soot. "This stuff is coming through the vents and everything. Either way you go, you're inhaling it. Something needs to be done about it."

But not everyone spoke out against the plant.

Tarrant Mayor Loxcil Tuck spoke in favor. She's been a resident nearly 50 years. She raised her children in Tarrant. "None of us have respiratory problems that may have been caused by pollution."

Tuck says the plant is vital to the area, providing jobs and tax revenue. She considers the business one of the city's best corporate citizens. "I personally believe ABC Coke is doing everything they can to make the air as clean as they can."

The Jefferson County Health Department says its role is to make sure plants are meeting all standards to reduce air pollution set by the EPA which will now review the permit. Jonathan Stanton with the Health Department says, "The EPA will review it 45 days, then if they have objections, they come back to us, talk with us about the permit."

Before deciding whether or not to renew.

People have until Friday to submit written comments to the health department.

We did call the company, but have not heard back.