14
Jul
2005

Activists in Northern California Need Help in their fight to shut down Evergreen pulp mill

Greetings,

My name is Elizabeth Eytchison and I live in Eureka in far northern California. I am a long time Green. We need any information, ideas, or suggestions that might help us in our fight to shut down Evergreen pulp mill.

On June 28, the North Coast Air Quality Management Hearing Board, after hearing approximately 10 hours of evidence, legal arguments and citizen testimony, spent about 20 minutes in “deliberation” and voting to allow Evergreen Pulp, Inc. a variance to violate existing air regulations until December 31, 2005. This 40 year old, poorly maintained pulp mill has been out of compliance with existing air regulations for the last 30 months. In December 2004 a raid by representatives of the California Fish and Game, Humboldt Sheriff’s office, District Attorney and FBI, after a whistleblower’s report of massive illegal waste disposal, resulted in a temporary closure and the Water Quality Control Board proposed a $1.7 million fine against the mill owners.

In 2005 the mill was bought by Lee and Man of Hong Kong. Lee and Man are one of Asia’s largest paper manufacturers and the mill was reopened as Evergreen Pulp Inc. Various “source tests” through April conducted for particulate matter (PM) air missions from two parts of the plant indicated the air emissions exceeded permit standards by approximately 200 %. Despite resident protests the new owners were granted a temporary variance to release 18 tons of unauthorized waste into the air between March and May while they “tweaked” problems with equipment. For years the mill has been considered a source of harmful chemicals such as Methanol, Acetaldehyde, Methyl Ethyl Ketone, Phenol and Lead compounds in Eureka’s air. (Scorecard.org) The air in Eureka is only tested every 6 days, and then only for particulates. There is no testing for toxic chemicals or metals.

This mill has a long history of violations and money problems. In 1990 it was listed by Congressman Waxman as one of the nations 167 most dangerous polluters. In 1991 the Surfriders Foundation won a major environmental lawsuit against the mill for massive ocean waste dumping and the mill was temporarily closed. It reopened in 1994 as “Totally Chlorine Free” but instead of installing secondary cleaning devices it piped wastes a mile offshore into the Pacific Ocean. In 1998 the mill owner plead guilty to fraud and environmental charges in federal court and agreed to pay $37 million in fines, including $5.5 million for violation of the Clean Air Act, the largest fine in U.S. history. There have been over 155 “incidents” or breakdowns.

I have multiple chemical sensitivity and my family had to leave our home on Thursday because of the emissions. I have a friend who has developed lymphoma since moving to our area. The children, elderly and those with weakened immune systems are not being protected. We are appealing the Hearing Board’s decision to grant an additional variance but would greatly appreciate any help or suggestions. This also ties into the destruction of the old growth redwoods.

Contact over redwoodgreens@aol.com
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