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Wednesday June 29th, 2022 12:08PM

Macon mayor pulls support from plastics recycling plant

By The Associated Press

MACON, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia mayor is urging an industrial development board to refuse to help a plastics recycling plant borrow money, saying he's worried about the safety of the proposed plant.

WMAZ-TV reports Macon-Bibb County Mayor Lester Miller is urging the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority to reject approval for San Francisco-based Brightmark.

The company wants to borrow $500 million in tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds to build what it projects would be a $680 million plant in Macon.

“While we should and will continue to support green energy, economic development and technical jobs, we cannot ignore he long-term safety concerns of this unproven process that have been raised in the last several weeks.” Miller wrote in a Friday letter.

The plant is projected to be the largest of its kind and have about 100 employees. It would break down plastics in high heat, with waste distilled into diesel fuel, new petroleum ingredients for plastics and wax. Brightmark currently operates a similar, smaller plant in Ashley, Indiana.

Opponents dominated a November public hearing on the plan for the authority to help the company issue bonds. The county would not be financially at risk from the industrial revenue bonds, which would help Brightmark borrow money more cheaply and not pay taxes. But opponents don’t want Macon-Bibb to do anything to help the company.

Environmentalists are opposing the plant, in part because it would emit some pollution, but mainly because they fear the Brightmark facility might make it easier to keep making more plastic when plastic waste is fouling natural environments.

The Georgia Water Coalition, in opposing the plant, said it “would result in the release of greenhouse gases and highly toxic dioxins locally while producing fuels that, when burned, will release still more greenhouse gases. The process would also perpetuate our dependence on plastics and fossil fuels by creating new pipelines for unrecyclable plastic waste.”

Brightmark CEO Bob Powell said the company’s technology “solves problems, not creates them.”

“We do not incinerate. In fact, our process won’t work if it is incinerated,” Powell said. “I won’t incinerate plastics because I think it’s a bad environmental answer.”

Powell has said the plant would have minimal emissions, similar to a medium-sized hospital.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
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