RYAM Gets Initial Nod on Air Permit for Bioethanol Facility

By Mike Lednovich

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has notified RYAM that it plans to issue an air permit for the company’s proposed bioethanol production facility at its plant on Gum Street.

The company applied for the air permit last November for construction of the plant for a second generation production process capable of producing 7.5 million gallons of saleable bioethanol per year. The facility also includes several storage tanks.

In the notice issued by FDEP’s David Lyle Read, environmental administrator, it stated: “The Permitting Authority gives notice of its intent to issue an air permit to the applicant for the project described above. The applicant has provided reasonable assurance that operation of the proposed equipment will not adversely impact air quality and that the project will comply with all appropriate provisions of Chapters 62-4, 62-204, 62-210, 62-212, 62-296 and 62-297, F.A.C.”

“We’ll live with this new process for a long time, and FDEP has said they will not continue testing the emissions of the ethanol plant after the first initial test. Nassau County Sierra Club wants the city to have the protections that the Clean Air Act was intended to provide. The exchange of citizen’s safety for a process that will clean the air by 5% or a little more sounds like greenwashing,” said Sierra Club President Julie Ferreira.

The notice also stated FDEP will issue a final permit in accordance with the conditions of the draft permit “unless a timely petition for an administrative hearing is filed under Sections 120.569 and 120.57, F.S. or unless public comment received in accordance with this notice results in a different decision or a significant change of terms or conditions.”

FDEP said RYAM is required to publish at its own expense the enclosed Public Notice of Intent to Issue Air Permit (Public Notice). The Public Notice shall be published one time only, as soon as possible in the legal advertisement section of a newspaper of general circulation in the area affected by this project. The newspaper used must meet the requirements of Sections 50.011 and 50.031, F.S. in the county where the activity is to take place.

The state agency said the public has two avenues to address issuing the air permit. First is by written comment.

Once the notice is published. FDEP said, “The Permitting Authority will accept written comments concerning the draft permit for a period of 14 days from the date of publication of the Public Notice. Written comments must be received by the Permitting Authority by close of business (5:00 p.m.) on or before the end of the 14-day period to the above address and electronically to David Read at [email protected]. If written comments received result in a significant change to the draft permit, the Permitting Authority shall revise the draft permit and require, if applicable, another Public Notice. All comments filed will be made available for public inspection.”

The other method to object is through petition.

If the public seeks to file petitions, FDEP said, “A person whose substantial interests are affected by the proposed permitting decision may petition for an administrative hearing in accordance with Sections 120.569 and 120.57, F.S. Petitions filed by the applicant or any of the parties listed below must be filed within 14 days of receipt of this written notice of Intent to Issue Air Permit. Petitions filed by any persons other than those entitled to written notice under Section 120.60(3), F.S., must be filed within 14 days of publication of the attached Public Notice or within 14 days of receipt of this written notice of Intent to Issue Air Permit, whichever occurs first. Under Section 120.60(3), F.S., however, any person who asked the Permitting Authority for notice of agency action may file a petition within 14 days of receipt of that notice, regardless of the date of publication. A petitioner shall mail a copy of the petition to the applicant at the address indicated above, at the time of filing. A petition for administrative hearing must contain the information set forth below and must be filed (received) with the Agency Clerk in the Office of General Counsel, 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, MS 35, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3000, [email protected], before the deadline.

Petitioners can also request an extension of time to file a petition.

Last week, Rayonier Performance Fibers conducted a company information forum about the proposed bioethanol plant to be located at RYAM’s wood pulp plant.

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Active Member
29 days ago

Our community needs to request an Administrative Hearing of this project to learn detailed factual information to properly assess risks.The air permit application submitted by RYAM used obsolete air emission data and vague assertions about air emissions of toxic byproducts produced during fermentation, as well as emission of green house gases resulting from the change in energy demands caused by the proposed plant.

Noble Member
29 days ago
Reply to  mmonzon

Please make this info as widely known as possible!

Ben Martin
Trusted Member
Ben Martin(@ben-martin)
29 days ago
Reply to  mmonzon

Could you please post a downloadable copy? I have some experience testing emissions from stationary sources and preparing air permit applications. More and more scientists are pushing back on the “man made climate change” idea. I would be very interested to see what all the alarm is about “green house gases.” If you are talking about CO2 it is a natural substance that is vital to life on earth. It makes plants grow and delivers O2 to the atmosphere. Pictures from NASA show the planet is getting greener.


Mark Tomes
Active Member
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
28 days ago
Reply to  Ben Martin

Actually, fewer and fewer real scientists are disputing the idea that people–derived activities are causing climate change. It is an established fact in scientific circles that CO2, despite being a natural molecule, has accumulated by human activities to the point that it’s causing major climate changes. methane and other naturally-found molecules are doing the same. NASA photos can be interpreted in many ways, but the overwhelming evidence of climate change is indisputable. Suggestions otherwise help polluting industries remain profitable and inhibit much-needed solutions.

Bill Fold
Noble Member
Bill Fold(@bill-fold)
28 days ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

Mr. Martin gave an indisputable example via the link he provided. How about you doing the same. Are folks supposed to just believe everything you write without any proof to back it up? I don’t think so.

Barnes Moore
Trusted Member
Barnes Moore(@barnes-moore)
28 days ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes


The most widely cited paper re: consensus was published by John Cook and has been uncritically accepted by people who did not bother to examine it. Quote from Cook: “The Scientific consensus is that human activity is very likely causing most of the current global warming”. This statement is based on his findings, but his findings showed that only 0.3% of papers examined expressly stated that position – not 97% as is constantly bandied about. Here is the breakdown as shown at co2 coalition dot org – consensus-what-consensus

–         11,944 Abstracts (1991-2011) reviewed – 100%
–         7930 were arbitrarily excluded for expressing no opinion – 66.4%
–         3896 were marked as agreeing that we cause some warming – 32.6%
–         64 were marked as stating we caused most of the warming – 0.5%
–         41 actually state that we caused most of the warming since 1950 – 0.3%
–         0 were marked as endorsing man-made catastrophe – 0%

In other words, the entire consensus narrative is simply one more fabrication embraced by true believers.

Now, let’s take a look at the other side where scientists actually signed their name to a document that disputes the climate change hysteria – to date, 1904 scientists from 64 countries have signed the World Climate Declaration. Prior to that, there was the Petition Project with over 31,000 signatories. Of course, those pushing the narrative attempt to smear and discredit these documents, but what is more believable – a paper purporting to examine over 11,000 other papers by an activist with an agenda, or documents where scientists actually signed their name disputing the narrative?

As to any climate emergency, maybe take the time to look at actual data and not models for example, read this and dispute the data without simply dismissing the source as is so often done – Wattsupwiththat dot com/2021/04/25/wheres-the-emergency

As to replacing fossil fuels with weather dependent, intermittent and unreliable wind and solar, read https://manhattan.institute/article/the-energy-transition-delusion

and Wattsupwiththat dot com / 2021 / 06 / 17 / bright-green-californian-impossibilities/

And as for actual cost data see: Edmhdotme dot wpcomstaging dot com backslash a-few-graphs-say-it-all-for-renewables

I don’t post this info thinking it will persuade you – as Thomas Sowell stated: “It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance.”  

I post this for others who may be open to hearing more on this topic instead of being told that the “science” is settled. Steven Koonin also disputes that narrative

Ben Martin
Trusted Member
Ben Martin(@ben-martin)
28 days ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

It times of climate change – fossil fuels will save you.

Alcohol is not a fossil fuel but when yeast eats sugar they excrete CH3CH2OH (Alcohol) and CO2.

When you burn something, the products of combustion are water and CO2.

So yes, the process of creating a “green fuel additive” will create a little CO2. Burn the alcohol and some more CO2 is produced.

But when you consider the volume of the of the earth’s atmosphere the CO2 produced during life of the project will not effect the ambient concentration of CO2 in any real way. And let’s not forget the effects of photosynthesis.

If the corporate media has caused you to have fear – relax. Fear is a great way to manipulate a population into all kinds of taxes and controls. And besides, it is highly doubtful that you can go into your smartphone and show us anywhere on the planet where it is 120F on this very day. I have been monitoring global temperatures for a while now and it seems like things are cooler – not warmer.

Profitable industries are good for everyone. Especially at a time when the “Inflation Tax” pays for most of the Federal Government’s expenses and 90% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

Last edited 28 days ago by Ben Martin
Peggy Bulger
Trusted Member
Peggy Bulger(@peggy-bulger1949gmail-com)
28 days ago

If RYAM is really interested in our community and plans to be a good neighbor into the future, the management needs to balance the desire for bigger profits with the need to be a real asset to, and partner with, the citizens living on Amelia Island. Why are we not hearing about consideration for a plant on rural lands away from all residents. I would surmise that RYAM would still realize a significant profit, and would gain the trust and support of Amelia Islanders. I hope that there are options on the table.

Active Member
28 days ago

Fermentation of sugars is not a selective process and besides ethanol and CO2 it will produce acetaldehyde, acroleine, methanol and other toxic volatile organic substances. Furthermore, distillation of ethanol is an energy intensive operation that will require burning significant quantities of fuel that will also generate additional air emissions. None of these issues were properly addressed in the air permit application. Therefore, further clarification is required in accordance with federal law, the Emergency Planning Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA.

Active Member
28 days ago

FDEP says OK. So what?
City charters say no chemical plants.
That seems like a great reason to shut this down…
However, if you are gong to argue air quality and water quality, I will have to don my chemical engineers hat (BS ChE 77) and chime in.
But it should not come to this!

Betsie Huben
Noble Member
Betsie Huben(@betsie-huben)
28 days ago

Does FDEP know this is against our city code ordinances?

Active Member
25 days ago

Rayonier is going in the WRONG direction with this new adventure.
Expansion of their island footprint is not a friendly action.
Sure, thev’ve been here since the 1930’s, but they do not own the place.
Sea level rise and associated climate impacts should have them reducing
not increasing footprint–but a quick buck is all they see–spurred on
by the Biden push to increase ethanol percentage in gasoline.
Good corporate citizens–no way.
Bad actors–every way.

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