The Stories Behind The Story: VW Needs No Additional Permit For Expansion - And Response

Thursday, June 19, 2014

On  May 15 an official announcement was made by Bob Colby of the Air Pollution Control Bureau. Colby stated that VW could construct a plant expansion  without obtaining an additional air pollution control permit.  It is encouraging to know VW will not have to obtain another air permit if VW elects to add to the present plant. Bob’s modesty prevented him from telling this underlying story. 

During the permitting process Bob discussed with VW officials the possibility of obtaining, at the beginning, a permit that would provide for future increases in production. Now, VW  benefits. It does not have to follow the route of  application; processing; draft-permit; public-comment; public-hearing; possibly a revision to produce the final permit. That has now already been done.

Further, concerning Bob Colby and VW, there is this little-known episode that occurred during VW’s information gathering for making the decision on whether Chattanooga would get the plant that we now have. 

At an early meeting between VW and officials of local government, Bob was asked for an estimate of the time lapse from the Bureau’s receipt of the application for permit to issuance of the permit. Colby gave his estimate of 90 days.

An attorney for VW who specializes in permits for automobile assembly plants informed Mr. Colby, “I’ve been in this business for three decades, and  I’ve never seen a permit come out that quickly. 

Bob responded, “I’ll stand by answer of 90 days.” 

The application was received by the Bureau August 8, 2008. The permit was issued Oct, 10, 2008.

There is an underlying story, too, on how that was accomplished. 

As VW was pre-planning, so was Colby. In anticipation such questions from VW Bob Colby was assembling his facts. He met with EPA Region 4 officials in Atlanta. He returned to Chattanooga armed with a recent application for air permit for an automobile plant. He had selected team of engineers to work on the permit if VW selected Chattanooga as the plant site. Cynthia McDaniel, an outstanding engineer at the Bureau was team leader. Often, preparation means  the difference between victory and defeat. 

Jody Baker 

* * * 

Could I have one of those permits as well? My car failed emissions due to a faulty gas cap.  

Michael Burns



Become An Official, Stay Connected To High School Sports

They don’t make the headlines, their names are not in the box scores and they don’t make the allstar teams, but perhaps the most important individuals in high school sports are the contest officials.  These individuals are so important that, in fact, there would be no organized competitive sports at the high school level without the men and women who officiate these contests ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Making A Difference

It was about 50 years ago when the late writer Loren Eiseley penned an essay called “The Starfish Thrower” so it’s been one of my favorite stories for almost as long. It tells about a man who walks up to a young boy on a beach, this just after a strong storm had washed hundreds of helpless starfish onto the shore. The boy was picking up the stranded starfish and, one at a time, ... (click for more)

City Council Balks At Approving New $600,000, Two-Year Contract To Father To The Fatherless For VRI Program

The City Council on Tuesday night declined to approve a two-year $600,000 contract with a local non-profit group for the city's Violence Reduction Initiative. Father to the Fatherless previously had the contract and was seeking an extension. Kerry Hayes of the mayor's office asked for a one-week delay, saying the office wanted to make sure that all concerns of the council ... (click for more)

City's Top Traffic Reconstruction Expert: "Man, This Truck Just Creamed A Dozen Cars"

The Chattanooga Police Department's top traffic reconstruction expert testified Tuesday that when he first viewed the scene of an horrific crash at the Ooltewah exit he thought "Man, this truck just creamed a dozen cars." Officer Joe Warren told a jury from Nashville that, according to his calculations, Benjamin Scott Brewer was traveling at 81-82 miles per hour when he struck ... (click for more)

Without Suspended Coach, Canes Slip Past Bradley, 60-52

East Hamilton boys’ basketball coach Rodney English has been suspended from his coaching duties and did not accompany the team to Cleveland for Tuesday night's District 5-3A game against Bradley Central at Jim Smiddy Arena. Assistant coach Zach Roddenberry, who has two years of head coaching experience at Boyd-Buchanan and a half a season as interim coach at Midland High School ... (click for more)

Faires Win Leads Trojan Matmen Past Bradley, 27-21

It’s been a whirlwind week so far for Soddy Daisy wrestling coach Jim Higgins and it’s only Tuesday. He and his wife put their house on the market Monday and it sold less than 24 hours later.  Add to that Soddy Daisy’s 27-21 win over defending state champ Bradley at the Soddy Daisy Wrestling Arena Tuesday night and you can see that a lot of good things have happened in a ... (click for more)