Hearing to be held on air-quality permit for Marrero oil recycling plant _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--The Vertex Energy plant burns contaminants out of used motor oil in Marrero and wants to double its capacity seen here Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. The plant has received at least one Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality citation and neighbors have complained of smells.

The public will get an extra 15 days to weigh in on a proposal by a Marrero oil recycling plant to increase its daily capacity by about one third, the state Department of Environmental Quality said Monday.

New DEQ Secretary Chuck Brown granted the extension Monday after state Rep. Patrick Connick, who represents the area around the Vertex Energy plant, asked that the public be given an extra month to comment on the expansion plan.

The clock on the extension will begin running once official notice of the extra time is published, Brown said.

DEQ hosted a public hearing about the expansion plan last week. It was “packed with citizens who have been negatively affected” by the plant’s operation, Connick wrote in an email to Brown.

The plant is among a cluster of industrial sites in Marrero that have drawn numerous complaints from residents about odors and other problems. Vertex says most of the residents’ problems with the plant predate Vertex’s purchase of the facility in May 2014 from Omega Holdings Co.