In the Water Permit that was approved on July 15, 2010 (NO. R1-2010-0033), there is a list of chemicals that need to be monitored by Freshwater. If these chemicals are detected during required testing, they will already be in the Pacific Ocean. The four chemicals that have shown "reasonable potential" to be released by the mill are aldrin, DDT, HCH (hexachlorocyclohexane) and TCDD (chlorinated dibenzodioxins and chlorinated dibenzofurans). These four chemicals are listed by the state of California as known causes of cancer. In addition, Freshwater must monitor for the following chemicals--We are listing them to give a picture of the enormity of the danger presented by the Samoa Pulp Mill.
TSS phenolic compounds
Oil and Grease chlorinated phenolics
Hexavalent Chromium acrolein
Mercury bis(2-chloroisopropyl0 ether
Silver di-n-butyl phthalate
Cyanide Ethylbenzene Endosulfan Fluoranthene
Heptachlor Epoxide tributyltin
Diethyl phthalate benzene
Dimethyl phthalate benzidine
carbon tetrachloride chlorodibromomethane
bis(2-chloroethyl) ether chloroform
bis(2-ethelhexyl) phthalate dichlorobromomethane
hepachlor epoxide PAHs
N-nitroso di-N-propylamine tetrachloroethylene
vinyl chloride 1,1,2-trichloroethane
The Water Board would not require that emissions from the mill be monitored for these chemicals if there was not a chance that they would be found. Once they are detected by mandatory testing, it is too late. They are already in the Ocean. You can check the proposition 65 list of
chemicals known to cause cancer and reproductive problems to learn more about these chemicals. Our source is the Freshwater Tissue Co. Water Permit that can be found on the site of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Board site.
Guest Editorial by Patrick Eytchison
Back in the 1940's the country singer Pete Cassell recorded a song titled "Waiting for Ships that Never Come In". Ever since the collapse of Humboldt County's lumber industry in the mid-1960's, the area's business elite has been hoping for the appearance of a new industrial base, equal in economic terms to the vanished timber bonanza. For various reasons this 50 year old Humboldt dream is like waiting for ships that never come in. Whether it's Arkley's balloon track scheme, a Northern California railroad, a Humboldt Bay deep water port, or a revived Samoa pulp mill, these schemes are all essentially pipe dreams that disregard local realities: geographical isolation, the nature of Humboldt Bay, a lack of local natural resources since the destruction of the original old growth forests. The main reality limit, however, and the one I want to examine here has to do with the future of the world energy supplies.
Today 85% of energy used in the world's economy is derived from three main fossil fuels: coal, oil and natural gas. Reserves of all of these, non-renewable energy sources are rapidly depleting. Furthermore, the EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) for these fuels is even more rapidly declining. Replacing this 85% with so-called "green" energy will be a problematic project and the prospect for the future of the world economy is grim. (1) Now while it is true that the larger part of the Samoa mill's operating energy is derived from its internal digesting process, the future success of the mill as an economic enterprise will be inevitably linked with the fate of the world's global economy. Even in the best of times--when energy was abundant and cheap--the Samoa mill struggled to succeed economically. This is evident from a complex chain of ownership: from Georgia Pacific to Louisiana -Pacific, from Louisiana-Pacific to La Pointe Partners, from La Pointe Partners to Evergreen (China's Lee and Mann) and from Evergreen to Freshwater. That's roughly a change in ownership every decade of the mill's existence. Thinking that the Samoa mill can make a go economically in a future shrinking world economy, when it could not in a rosier past is waiting for a ship that won't come in.
Personally, I think our area should work to develop tourism and to attract retirees with stable incomes as a bridge to a long term future of local self-sufficiency- a direction that will be forced on us sooner or later by the coming thermodynamic evolution of human society. This is a plan where Humboldt County's geographic isolation could be an economic plus. A pulp mill scaled for international trade simply does not fit the approaching reality.
(1) Richard Heinberg, "Searching for a Miracle: Net Energy Limits & The Fate of Industrial Society". A Joint Project of the International Forum on Globalization and the Post-Carbon Institute, September 2009.
This blog was started and is continued by people who live in West Eureka in clear sight of the Samoa Pulp Mill. We were the victims of the toxic fumes from Evergreen Pulp Inc. It has been said that we are lobbyists from Southern California or most recently part of a law firm in San Francisco. No, we are just the pulp mill's neighbors. We are concerned enough to spend the time to keep up this blog.
There has been a news blackout on what is happening with the mill and Freshwater Tissue Co. We have been the only place where people could read about public hearings and correspondence with the mill. We have notified people of their right to submit public comments along with addresses and dates. We have also presented information from public documents. This is why there are so many quotes, so there can be no mistake about what the Water Board, the Air Board, Freshwater or the E.P.A. had to say. We always give a source. We also give our opinions, but we try to be respectful.
This has not been the case with those who support the mill and Mr. Simpson. Recently this blog has been flooded with personal attacks and downright bullying. Under the guise of their blog names, they have presented information that, in our opinion, they know to be untrue. We have never deleted a comment, but in the future we reserve the right to delete comments that are abusive. W
Do we have the right to be concerned about a kraft pulp mill that plans to operate out of compliance with the Clean Water Act? Yes, we do.
Do we have the right to be worried about future air quality violations?
Yes, we do.
According to the E.P.A. (10-2-07) "Particulate matter adversely affects humans principally through inhalation and the deposit of particulates in the nose, throat, and lungs. Health effects from chronic exposure to high levels of particulate matter range from nasal irritation to bronchitis to emphysema. Young children and the elderly are the most susceptible to the adverse effects of particulate matter once it is deposited in the body. Pulp mills also emit toxic metals including antimony, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, manganese, nickel and selenium. Health effects associated with exposure to these toxic metals can include cancer, reproductive and developmental effects, gastrointestinal effects, damage to the nervous system and irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system." This was from a piece about Evergreen Pulp Mill and the $5 million dollar settlement.
Nov. 2006 E.P.A. "Final Report: Pulp and Paper and Paperboard Detailed Study." "During its 2005 screening- level analysis of discharges from categories with existing regulations, E.P.A. determined the Pulp, Paper, and Paperboard Point Source Category ranked higher than any other category of discharges of toxic and nonconventional pollutants."
If you are looking for a secure job or a secure investment, don't look to Freshwater Tissue Co. Below is a complete list of the deadlines Freshwater must meet as part of the Cease and Desist Order. If they miss any one of them, their water permit can be revoked.
October 13, 2010 The date they can start discharging into the Ocean.
February 19, 2011 Submit a revised best management plan (BMPP) to identify measures that the Discharger will take to minimize discharges of BODs and TSS.
December 16, 2010 Provide financial assurances for funding design and construction of the wastewater treatment plant.
December 16, 2010 Submit preliminary project proposal, including a description of the treatment technology selection process.
January 10, 2011 Submit complete application to the County of Humboldt to secure permits for the wastewater treatment plant.
January 10, 2011 Submit complete application to the North Coast Unified Air District for an Authority to Construct Permit for the wastewater treatment plant.
March 16, 2011 Award engineering and design contract for the wastewater treatment plant.
September 12, 2011 Complete 60% level specifications and design drawings.
February 7, 2012 Submit final specifications and design drawings to the Regional Water Board.
April 6, 2012 Issue bid packages for construction contract.
June 6, 2012 Award construction contract.
July 5, 2012 Commence construction of the treatment plant.
October 29, 2013 Complete construction of the treatment plant
January 23, 2014 Full operation of the treatment plant in compliance with permit limits and performance tests.
February 27, 2014 Submit final drawings and results of performance tests.
January 31, 2011 Review monitoring data and conduct initial technology evaluation for dewatering of water treatment plant solids.
March 14, 2012 Characterize the settling properties of the treatment plant solids for final evaluation of dewatering technologies.
June 12, 2012 Conduct onsite pilot testing.
August 9, 2012 Submit workplan of implementing compliance solution.
November 8, 2012 Submit complete applications for permits necessary to implement compliance solution.
March 7, 2013 Complete and submit engineering design specifications for compliance solution.
May 8, 2013 Award contract for the installation and construction of the compliance solution.
September 5, 2013 Complete construction of the compliance solution.
October 10, 2013 Achieve full operation of the compliance solution and compliance with NPDES permit effluent limits following start-up and initial performance tests.
Interim Limitations for TSS in effect until October 10, 2013.
Until October 10, 2013 they shall maintain compliance with effluent limitations for suspended solids...
The complete cease and desist order is available on the North Coast Regional Water Quality Board website.
In a letter to concerned citizens dated August 9, 2010 Representative Thompson said,
"In efforts to save the mill, I worked with the investors and made contact with a number of state and federal agencies on their behalf. Unfortunately, the mill did not qualify for funds or grants through existing government programs. Apparently, the owners of the mill encountered similar problems when they approached the private sector for investment dollars---there were no takers.
The history of this pulp mill is well known. The mill has seen many owners over recent years. The boom/bust of the pulp market, a low-cost reliable chip supply and demanding environmental regulations have always been a challenge. And while the Freshwater Tissue proposal was an effort to overcome these challenges, the plan was costly and speculative. The most recent plan for the mill required $400 million to add a tissue manufacturing plant that would use 'green' pulp to make a product consumers wanted to purchase. In the end, the plan wasn't strong enough to make the case that it warranted the investment."
"Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, national origin or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws and policies." (E.P.A.) The Environmental Protection Agency has recently released a draft plan to strengthen the delivery of environmental justice to communities that have been inordinately impacted by pollution due to their inability to protect themselves due to income, race or national origin.
What does this have to do with us in Eureka and in communities around Humboldt Bay? We have been heavily impacted by pollution. Humboldt Bay is surrounded by brown fields, polluted areas left by companies that have since left town (for instance the Marina Center property and the Samoa Pulp Mill). Lumber companies have left a legacy of pollution from the chemicals used to treat lumber. Now Freshwater Tissue Co. wants to start up and won't meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act until 2014. Even then, we cannot be sure that they will be able to meet the standards.
If this was a more affluent community, this would not be allowed. Someone would have the money to take them to court or someone would call their old buddy Arnold and ask for help. Unfortunately, regulatory bodies listen to money. Sadly, Eureka, especially West Eureka does not have any. West Eureka is full of homeless shelters, treatment centers, mental health facilities and half way houses. People in these facilities are not permanent residents and are more concerned with daily survival than air quality. Most other residents are low income. They are also overwhelmed with issues of survival. When people do speak up as they did again Evergreen Pulp Inc, they are ignored. There is no money to be made on the concerns of low income people.
What we have experienced here in West Eureka is not environmental justice, but environmental injustice.
The appeal of Freshwater Tissue's Water Discharge Permit is proceeding through the petition process at the State of California Water Resources Control Board. It is now officially listed on their website. Freshwater Tissue Co.'s permit is being challenged by the League of Eurekans Against Pollution (L.E.A.P.). We will keep you informed.