About People for Less Pollution

People for Less Pollution (PLP) is a grassroots environmental organization established in October 2003 to oppose the International Paper Company (IP) plan to burn tire derived fuel at the Ticonderoga, NY mill. IP proposed a 30-day test burn of tire derived fuel and requested a Beneficial Use Determination (BUD) from the NYDEC. PLP worked to organize and help people to articulate the very strong opposition to the tire burn that developed throughout Addison County and the rest of Vermont. These activities included contacting Vermont and NY elected officials, writing letters to local newspapers, radio and television interviews, and the establishment of the PLP list server.

In January 2004 the NYDEC informed IP that it would not grant a BUD and that IP would be required to modify its existing EPA emissions permit in order to test burn tires. PLP continued to actively protest the proposed tire burn. During this period we raised public awareness of the issue by distributing flyers, participating in media interviews, interacting with local legislators and enlisting their support to oppose the tire burn. Articles about our activities have been in The Burlington Free Press, The Addison Independent, The Rutland Herald. Group members have given presentations around Addison County and at Town Meeting Day. We have distributed several thousand pieces of literature and sponsored and staffed public events.

Thousands of our fellow citizens have signed petitions in support of Governor Douglas taking action against International Paper's proposed Tire Burn. On August 18, 2005 so many people turned out to protest IP's informational meeting in MIddlebury that their were reports of police turning people away--saying the VFW Hall in Middlebury was full and they couldn't get in. We have been supported by many Vermont State legislators (Representatives: Steven Maier, Betty A. Nuovo, Willem Jewett, Michael Fisher and David Sharpe; Senators: Claire D. Ayer and Harold Giard) who have sent a letter to New York Gov. Pataki urging him to abandon tire burning. Legislation will be introduced in the VT State Legislature to create a more stringent zinc oxide air pollution standard (H. 494 Willem Jewett, Ripton). A bill to add a refundable deposit on tires which will facilitate tire recycling is also pending. People supporting our cause include: the Commissioner of the Vermont DEC, Governor Douglas and Senator Jim Jeffords.

On November 29, 2004 we held a press event in Shoreham to announce that IP was the recipient of a 2004 Dirty Dozen Award from Toxic Action. On January 11, 2005 we sponsored a very well attended community meeting at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Middlebury. Participants at the meeting included speakers representing PLP, Moms for Safe Milk (MFSM) and VPIRG. The meeting was also attended by state legislators, representatives from the VTDEC, and was covered by Vermont print and television media.

On February 1, 2005 IP filed an application for a permit to conduct a 2-week test burn of tire derived fuel. On March 1, 2005 as a result of activism by PLP and MFSM five Vermont towns (Shoreham, Orwell, Whiting, New Haven, and Shelburne) passed town meeting resolutions opposing the tire burn. On February 14, 2005 Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords sent a letter to NY Governor George Pataki urging him to reject the IP permit application for the tire burn.

On March 10, 2005 the NYDEC found the IP permit application to be incomplete and returned the application to IP. IP must now correct and resubmit the permit to the NYDEC. On March 21, 2005 we attended the governor’s legislative breakfast in Middlebury. In response to questions from PLP and MFSM members Gov. Douglas spokes out against tire burn and stated that he will oppose the burn if it increases plant emissions.

We provided a tire burn information table and recruited new members at this year’s Middlebury Earth Day celebration (April 24, 2005). Our first “Cakes and Pies for Clean Air and Skies” was held on the Middlebury Green on April 30, 2005. We were particularly excited about the bake sale because the spectacle of a local grassroots environmental organization holding a bake sale to raise money which will be donated to a wealthy multinational corporation to help purchase pollution control equipment captured the interest of the local media. We are committed to activism associated with public hearings concerning the tire burn permit which may be scheduled by the NYDEC, VTDEC or EPA. We hope to use the public hearing as an opportunity to present IP with a giant check for some of the proceeds from our bake sales as a symbolic donation towards purchase of a pollution control device.

At present we have been successful in mobilizing public opposition to the tire burn and our efforts have contributed significantly to delaying the test burn originally proposed in October of 2003. If the tire burn permit is ultimately rejected by the NYDEC, we will work toward requiring IP to reduce the huge amount of pollution released by its current day to day operations. If the tire burn permit is granted we will continue to mobilize public opposition to the tire burn and work with the VTDEC to evaluate the environmental effects of burning tires.

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