"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.



Frank
8/13/2010 11:03:01 am

A great characterization of west Eureka and some of its problems. Actually the environmental injustice goes all the way back to '65 when two polluting kraft pulp mills were built at the very edge of a working class neighborhood. This whole thing about people not having technical knowledge about kinds of pulp mills is a pointless smoke screen. Yes, there are kraft (or sulfate) pulp mills and sulfite mills (using sulfurous acid and various bisulfite compounds). These probably acount for most of the world's mills. Thermo-mechanical mills steam chips as they are mechanically refined by metal plates;producing thermo-mechanicasl pulp(TMP). The down side of the TMP process is the large amount of electrical energy required. Weyco had a thermo-mechanical mill in Everett, Washington at one time; I don't know if it's still in operation. I'll admit I don't know much about dissolving pulp mills, but I understand the former Fraser mill in Canada is involved in a plan currently for conversion into a dissolving mill. Those of us here in Eureka are interested in kraft mills because that's what we have to deal with here. Kraft mills use sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfide in their digester process. Kraft digesters are either "batch" or (the newer)"continuous" type. The Samoa mill has a continuous (600 plus metric tpd)digester. Not everyone living in West Eureka is too hard-pressed by the day-to-day struggle for existence to be uneducated and totally socially/politically helpless. People considering investing in Freshwater need to consider that some of West Eureka's residents are educated and experienced activists who have well honed research,communication, networking and organizing skills--that can be brought into play if we feel our air is being poisoned. Yes, I'm very much aware of the improvements made by Evergreen, but that mainly happened, against Evergreen's resistance, due the efforts of local activists. Be warned.

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T.P.W
8/14/2010 03:37:24 pm

Cut and paste,,,Thanks for the lesson.
So come and make pulp with me . LOL.
Because what you think you understand from that ! LOL ! Thats not right ,your
hardly close on so many levels,
But then that would require some real truth and education of this mill, and others .
You should write this down on some paper and send these thoughts to someone.

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