Friday, July 28, 2006

Sen. Jeffords' Statement on IP Tire Test Burn Permit

Senator Jim Jeffords issued the following statement today after the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced a proposed permit for a two-week test burn of tires for derived fuel at International Paper's plant at Ticonderoga, NY:

Statement of Senator Jim Jeffords, I-Vt.
Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
On NY DEC's Proposed Permit for IP Tire Test Burn

 "I am very disappointed that New York State regulators plan to issue this permit. Those who live downwind of the IP plant should not be treated as guinea pigs in this experiment. If IP wants to burn tires, the solution is simple: it should upgrade its outdated plant with the proper equipment to ensure that its tire burning will be safe. IP has installed these controls at its other plants, so why not here?"

 "I find it ironic that New York regulators have granted this permit just days after federal investigators found the Environmental Protection Agency has not done its job in protecting the public from toxic air pollutants. The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to review this decision, and the EPA has the ability to reject it. I call on the EPA to do just that, and demonstrate its commitment to protecting public health."

People for Less Pollution will continue to fight the IP Tire Burn with every means at its disposal. We urge people to call Governor Douglas. Ask him to use Vermont agencies and legal staff at his disposal to continue to fight this permit and to urge the EPA to deny this permit that would allow the unsafe burning of tires and risk the health of Vermonters.

IP's goal is to burn millions of tires a year on a permanent basis in a plant with a 35-year old boiler not designed to burn tires. Any plant built today would have an ESP! Tires are full of toxic compounds. The materials that go into making tires are considered hazardous substances. These same hazardous substances will be released when tires are burned. IP's own application to burn tires admits new and increased emissions of 22 air pollutants. Eight of these air pollutants are classified by the NYDEC as "Highly Toxic Air Contaminants" known to cause cancer in people.

IP will not test for the most harmful fine particulates, PM 2.5. These minute particles will increase dramatically when burning tires. Toxic substances bond to these fine particles when they are burned. These particles can travel long distances. Most of these particles are invisible to the human eye and can be inhaled deeply into one's lungs where they can cause the most harm. IP’s current pollution controls are not effective at capturing fine particles.

Call or write Governor Douglas (800) 649-6825
Urge him to act now to have the EPA DENY THE IP TIRE BURN PERMIT!

Contact Governor Douglas ONLINE (click here)!

Excerpts from WCAX, Channel 3, July 28, 2006 . . .But opponents (to the IP Tire Burn) argued it would damage air quality -- especially harmful for the thousands of people across the lake in Addison County, Vermont, with asthma, cardiovascular disease and other health problems.

"When I say they're at risk, it's a significant risk. The research shows particulate matter can have a deleterious effect on their health and even death on some cases," said John Cronin, head of the American Lung Association of Vermont.

"We're hopeful that at some point someone will make the right decision on this and people's lungs will be preserved," he said.

Critics want a pollution control device called an electrostatic precipitator installed before the burn. International Paper has installed those controls at its other plants.

"The shame is the pollution control equipment exists. They can go through expense now, which would guarantee significantly less pollution, and they would more likely get approval going forward if they had state-of-the-art equipment they used," said Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell. Sorrell has filed a lawsuit to stop the test from moving forward.

"If we get to that time, and I hope to God we don't, I would recommend people in Addison County stay indoors," Cronins said. "Don't be outside during this."

Vermont Suit Against NYDEC in New York Supreme Court
(PDF of Reply filed May 2006)

More About the Vermont Law Suit against the NYDEC (web page)

NYDEC Responses to Comments against the Test burn (pdf file)

A report issued July 26, 2006 by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) concludes the Environmental Protection Agency's implementation of the Clean Air Act air toxics program has been inadequate, with substantial opportunities to reduce emissions of cancer-causing air toxics remaining unaddressed by the EPA. More About the Report