A Lehigh University associate professor admitted she wants Lower Nazareth Township to adopt an air quality policy that goes beyond state and federal standards.
The adoption of such a policy could sidetrack plans to build an 822,000 square foot warehouse off Route 33 near Newburg Road.
Under questioning by Blake Marles, the attorney for Industrial Developments International, Breena Holland, a political scientist who focuses on environmental policies, conceded that neither the Department of Environmental Protection nor the Environmental Protection Agency recommends what she wants the township to do.
Holland is asking that a 1, 500 buffer be established between the source idling tractor trailer diesel fumes and residential homes.
Holland parried with Marles over scientific studies, data and the air quality in general in the Lehigh Valley.
Marles suggested Holland’s figures were arbitrary and also suggested Holland was using old data.
Holland, who testified at last month’s hearing, insisted the Lehigh Valley air quality is “non-compliant,” though she admitted she had not dissected the data for 2012-2013.
She spent another three hours testifying Tuesday night.
The lawyer and the professor at times also debated air testing methods and the validity of their findings.
They debated the difference between diesel fumes blown from the 7,000 trucks a day barreling on Route 22, versus fumes from trucks idling, then accelerating from a warehouse near a neighborhood.
Township solicitor Gary Asteak, referring to plans to build a 1.3 million square foot warehouse facility in neighboring Palmer Township, asked Holland if she would recommend there be a moratorium on all new warehouses until air impact quality studies are conducted.
Holland said she believed such studies should be done for all such projects, not just the IDI project.
Tuesday’s hearing was the third hearing on whether IDI should be granted a conditional-use approval for the warehouse it wants to build between Hecktown and Newburg roads.
At last month’s hearing, the supervisors heard testimony that the project would lower home values by more than 11 percent and hurt air quality.
Testimony resumes March 26 and on March 31 if another meeting is required, Asteak said.