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Proposed cement plant in Box Elder raises some eyebrows

 Proposed location for a cement plant in Box Elder, S.D.
Proposed location for a cement plant in Box Elder, S.D. (KOTA)
Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 6:13 PM CDT
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The possibility of a cement plant being built on I-90 and Liberty Boulevard in Box Elder has some community members concerned.

John M. Fitzgerald, an attorney at Fitzgerald Law Firm in Rapid City wrote a letter to Box Elder mayor Larry Larson, opposing the City's Planning and Zoning approval for the cement plant.

Fitzgerald said the proposed location is about a quarter mile upwind from a subdivision with about 40 homes. He said the City has not done Air Quality Tests to measure the pollution the would blow from the cement plant and onto the residential area. Fitzgerald said the dust from the cement plant could cause numerous health, including the possibility of cancer, Mesothelioma, and other respiratory issues.

He said the City's mentality is "build first, ask questions later." He is also concerned with the "unknown" of the situation.

"And the problem with it is that cement plants have a filtration-- they call them bags," said Fitzgerald. "They don't really work when the wind gets past 35 or 40 miles per hour, and it's a windy place out there. And so, an air quality study would show how often the wind exceeds that mile per hour, what affect the cement plant would have on the 42 residents, I mean, it's young families, and it's older families."

The Box Elder City Council will consider approval for construction on their July 7 meeting. Fitzgerald urges community members to appear at this meeting to voice their concerns.

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