Mississippi Silicon Lawsuit Dismissed By Federal Judge

JACKSON, MS (AP) — A federal judge has ended the legal fight over a silicon metal plant being built in northeast Mississippi.

         Plaintiffs argued that Mississippi Silicon's air pollution permit was faulty because Mississippi didn't allow a full 30 days for comment and didn't hold a public hearing. They argue there were 29 days at best to comment, and less time actually, because documents didn't arrive at the Burnsville library until later. They also argue those materials didn't state the true level of Mississippi Silicon's pollution is expanding.

         State environmental agency officials denied those claims.

         Records show U.S. Judge Debra M. Brown dismissed the lawsuit Thursday and denied a request for an injunction to stop the project. Brown said the plaintiffs failed to prove that Mississippi Silicon's permit to build the plant is invalid.

         The plaintiffs were 16 Front Street LLC and C. Richard Cotton of Saltillo. 16 Front Street is a subsidiary of Miami-based Globe Specialty Metals that was incorporated Oct. 6, the day the suit was filed. Cotton is a writer who says the plant's pollution would hurt his enjoyment of area parks and lakes.

         John Lalley, vice president of finance for Mississippi Silicon, told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal the decision "confirms that this lawsuit filed by Globe against Mississippi Silicon was without merit. Our position is clear — Mississippi Silicon has and continues to act in good faith and in accordance with strict permits properly secured."

         Lalley said Mississippi Silicon has generated more than 400 jobs for the construction of the facility located in the Northeast Mississippi Waterfront Industrial Park in Burnsville.

         The $200 million plant would employ 200 people, making silicon metal that would be used in making aluminum, chemicals and cars. The plant is under construction and is supposed to be complete sometime in 2016.

         Globe has sued in three other jurisdictions. Though other American companies refine silicon metal for their own use, Globe's four plants are the only domestic producers for commercial markets.

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