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S.O.S. From Vermont

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Author: the Inkslinger

As Jeffrey has noted, here in Vermont these days the roof of our world is dyed deep blue and the sunlight falls through air that’s almost primevally fresh and clear. You could say they’re perfect skies, but they might be a whole lot less so soon. Turns out we’ve got a bit of a potentially unhappy atmospheric situation looming over our home turf. And we need everyone out here in Blogland to lend a quick helping hand. Please read on and come to our aid…

Here’s the dirty deal: the International Paper Company operates a paper mill in Ticonderoga, New York, which sits just across Lake Champlain from Vermont’s border. International Paper (IP–not to be confused with the Inspired Protagonist!) has received permission from N.Y State regulators to burn 72 tons of used tires and 40 cubic yards of sewage sludge in the mill’s power plant each day. All that’s needed for this incineration to begin is EPA approval for the burning, which is expected any moment. (Local EPA administrators are on record as having no problem with IP’s plan.)

BUT (here it comes...) the paper mill hasn’t installed industry-standard pollution controls on its smokestack. These controls would remove 95% of the pollution created by the tire and sludge burning. Instead, IP is using inferior outdated equipment. So a lot of nasty stuff is going to get airborne as soon as they light the first match. Benzene. Mercury. Dioxins. You name it. Burn tires and (worse) sludge, and your lungs turn into a toxic waste site. Our region’s prevailing winds will blow all this pollution right into the heart of Vermont and one of our state’s prime farming regions.

WE VERY MUCH NEED EVERYONE’S HELP HERE. As issue’s go, this one is really big and really bad. Everyine from our kids to our dairy cows are going to be breathing some very ugly stuff if IP starts burning all this junk.

Please help us by writing or (better yet) calling International Paper Chairman & CEO John V. Farachi and the Ticonderoga Paper Mill Manger, Christopher P. Mallon and asking them to:

  1. Install the industry standard/best available air pollution controls and water purification system. (Note that this would cost just $5 to $10 million, an investment that would be paid off is only 2-3 years given IP’s stated fuel savings of$4 million per year. Also note that IP’s 2004 revenues were $24 billion. I think they can spare it. Note, too, that we here in Vermont have even offered to help them pay for the new equipment! It’s just unbelievable that IP is refusing to work with us.)
  2. Not burn sludge. Sludge is just incredibly nasty. It should never be turned into breathable airborne particles and gases. Period.
  3. Seek alternative environmentally friendly fuel options like bio-diesel and bio-mass, etc. instead. (C’mon guys. It’s the 21st Century. Get with the program and use your imaginations so that everybody wins.)
  4. Honor their own professed Environmental Pledge to “operate as responsible environmental stewards and as a viable member of the New York, Vermont, New England, and Global Community.

Let’s light up those phone lines, jam those mail bags big time, and turn this a national issue that gets the attention of IP management and spurs them to make a modest investment in public and environmental health. Here’s the info you need to help:

John V. Faraci
Chairman and CEO
International Paper
6420 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, TN 38197
Phone 901-419-7000
Fax 901-419-4633

Christopher P. Mallon
Plant Manager
International Paper
568 Shore Airport Rd.
Ticonderoga, NY 12883
(518) 585-6761

Ask these men to commit in writing to doing the right thing. Ask them to be good global citizens and neighbors. With your help we can convince them and beat this crazy scheme. You can make a huge difference with just two phone calls and/or letters. So please take a couple of minutes to help. It will mean a lot to all of us here in Vermont.

For more information about the proposed International Paper tire/sludge burning and current updates on the situation go here and here.