The Port Angeles Rayonier Inc. Pulp Mill operated from 1930-1997 when it was closed and dismantled. Now in 2011 the clean up continues. The website on the mill set up by the Department of Ecology at the State of Washington says "Over the years the mill emitted hazardous substances that still pollute the land and water." The City of Port Angeles also has a website that provides information on the mill cleanup. Pollutants on the site include petroleum hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), lead, dioxins, furans and arsenic. Local Native American tribes have been included in the planning for the cleanup and the use of the site once it is cleaned up.
From this we can learn that cleanup of a mill site is not a quick process. We can also contrast the information given to the public by the mill and government agencies with the lack of information about the Samoa Pulp Mill site. It is noteworthy that the local media has nothing to say about the mill. There is ongoing concern about Marina Center site, but nothing about the Samoa Pulp Mill, a major polluter.
They are being allowed to proceed with the demolition without an overall plan for the use of the property. They have the proper "acknowledgments" and a licensed company has begun the asbestos removal. Two buildings are being completely removed and the machine room is being emptied. It could become a warehouse.
The Geotracker website of the California Water Board publishes the results of tests for pollutants in the wells on the mill site. It would be a service to the public if the Freshwater Tissue Co. kept the public informed about what is happening at the mill site.
At a meeting at the Planning Department of the County of Humboldt, a Permit was granted this morning for the demolition of three buildings at the pulp mill. It did not appear that the public was notified of the meeting. The Air District was not notified of the meeting. There were concerns voiced during public comment that the Freshwater Tissue Co. project did not meet the requirements for an exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) . A CEQA study could help prevent accidents and spills during the removal and transport of toxins from the site. Planning Department staff discussed precautions that will be taken to prevent accidents. This permit can be appealed to the State Coastal Commission. Toxins will be trucked out on Broadway/Highway 101.
There will be a hearing on the demolition of the Samoa Pulp Mill January 20, 2011 10 AM at the County Planning Commission at H Street and Harris. The County is planning on permitting the demolition without a CEQA Review. Issues of environmental health and safety may be discussed at this meeting.