We were surprised to find that most of the monitoring for pollutants from the Samoa Pulp Mill was done by the mill. In 2005 there were only one or two monitoring stations set up by the Air District and these only tested for particulates and not chemicals. There are more of these monitoring stations now, but they only test for a limited number of chemicals occasionally. Yes, the E.P.A. did come up to do site inspections, but distance and expense meant they didn't do it very often. Regulatory agencies depend on the polluter to do most of the testing.
Why is this important now that the Freshwater Tissue Co./ the Samoa Pulp Mill has announced that it does not plan to open again? The same laws, regulations, and lack of stringent testing is in place for other polluters. We as citizens need to pay attention.
An article dated October 5, 2010 in the Humboldt State University newspaper the Lumberjack summarized some of the history of the Samoa Pulp Mill and gave a pretty balanced report of both the environmental and economic problems of the Samoa Pulp Mill/ Freshwater Tissue/ Evergreen Pulp.
Noteworthy was a quote from Richard Marks. "Our community was basically environmentally raped by Evergreen Pulp." He said that he was disappointed in the environmental stewardship of Evergreen.
We applaud Richard Marks for speaking up.
Why has so little been written about the Samoa Pulp Mill? The balloon track has been in the papers every other day, but very little has been written about what was happening with the pulp mill. Most people don't even know that Freshwater was planning to start making pulp. Others still think that they were still planning to make environmental toilet paper.
The endorsements of Freshwater's plan by environmental organizations
Another question is why after Evergreen left town there was no discussion of what happened. There was token sympathy shown to the mill workers, but no one in the media wanted to delve into what happened. I remember Mr. Tsang saying that we should not worry because it was just a reorganization of Evergreen when ownership passed to a company in the Virgin Islands. Maybe none of the local dignitaries wanted to admit how much they were taken in by Evergreen. Few questions were asked.