Residents concerned about proposed soybean plant - abc27 WHTM

Residents concerned about proposed soybean plant

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YORK, Pa. (WHTM) -

Hexane is at the center of a controversy brewing in Lancaster and York counties.

The chemical solvent is used to extract oil from plant seeds. In this case, it would be used on soybeans.

Perdue over the summer applied for approval to extend their soybean facility in Conoy Township, Lancaster County. Perdue officials said the risks are minimal.

"They only tell you the good parts," said Warren Evans, a biochemist and medical researcher. "They never tell you the downside of that story, that hexane can have very damaging effects."

Evans is a resident of Hellam Township, York County, where people who live downwind of the plant are also concerned about the expansion plans. He joined the crowd at a meeting in Hellam Township Thursday night because he's concerned about the local health and environmental impact that Perdue's soybean oil extraction facility might bring.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, inhaling the chemical can result in a range of symptoms including headache, nausea, and nerve damage.

"We're not new to this game," said Wayne Black, director of environmental management at Perdue Agribusiness. "We have excellent safety and environmental records."

Perdue wants to add more than 30 jobs to the area while strengthening the grain market for local farmers, but those against it said the plant would be in addition to ones already in the immediate area.

"Resulting in very serious degradation to air quality that is already not in compliance with federal standard," said Mike Martin, chairman of the Hellam Township Board of Supervisors.

The goal of the meeting was to get the Department of Environmental Protection and Perdue thinking about the geography, the topography, the risks, and what it means to be a good neighbor before a final decision is made.

The Department of Environmental Protection is accepting written comments until December 17.

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