DG Fuels CEO Michael Darcy is speaking out after experiencing a delay with a $4 billion project focused on making sustainable fuel for aviation.
As The County reported in December, the holdup is due to toxins known as PFAs (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances), or forever chemicals, that were discovered at the former Loring Air Force Base airport hangar which DG Fuels is planning to lease.
“We will work with all the necessary federal and state entities to make sure we handle things correctly,” Darcy told the outlet. “We see this as an issue but not a deal killer.”
The Air Force was reportedly already aware of the presence of PFAs due to the use of aqueous film forming foams (AFFF), a substance used to put out fires after plane crashes.
However, the military branch teamed up with Wood Environment and Infrastructure to conduct a more thorough investigation in 2022 after the forever chemicals were discovered in all but one of the 22 sites of groundwater and soil in 2015.
Even though “non-dangerous levels” of the chemicals were reported at Loring, per The County, AFFF is being phased out at multiple airports, including at O’Hare and Midway in Chicago, because of the potential for contamination.
In 2018, the Pentagon also discovered that more than 100 military sites had elevated levels of PFAs, as reported by the Military Times.
PFAs, which have been used in certain everyday items since the 1940s, have the potential to “build up in people and animals with repeated exposure over time,” according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
DG Fuels hoped to begin construction by the end of the year or early 2025, but the Air Force anticipates it won’t have a cleanup plan in place until the beginning of next year.
“[The timeline] is way too long. We’ll be meeting with our attorneys to discuss the legal aspects of this problem,” Loring Development Authority president and CEO Carl Flora told The County
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