The Eureka Times StandardWe told them we smelled the stink from the mill.  They said we were exaggerating.  We told them it made us sick.  They ignored us and gave it a variance allowing it to continue to pollute. We told them about the black smoke and ashes we saw at night. They said it wasn’t so. We told them we were afraid of cancer and pointed to the high cancer rate in Humboldt County. They treated us like we were crazy. The E.P.A. fined the mill for violations again and again.  The Chamber of Commerce made it the business of the year. Then the mill owners left town, leaving no forwarding address.Now a new company wants to start this mill up again.  Once again those in authority including elected officials and even some environmental organizations stand and applaud. “Everyone is in favor of this new plan,” they say. Yet all the meetings have been behind closed doors.  No one has asked us, those who live here.  We are expendable.  They say this time it won’t pollute, but a kraft pulp mill by definition puts out carcinogens. We have double the national rate of blood cancers. This is typical in mill counties.   They can add equipment that will lower the level, but they can’t eliminate the toxins. You can dress a pig up and take it to the party, but it will still be a pig. This mill should never operate again and our tax money should not be used for it. Sincerely, Carol Binder
10/18/2009 01:13:22 pm

After reading your email I am compelled to correct some of the mis-information you spreading. First, The Surfriders lawsuit occured in 1990. I joined LP in April of 1992. I moved to Samoa in May of 1992. My first action was to settle the Surfriders lawsuit. I did so by making the decision to concert the Samoa mill into a chlorine-free pulp mill. I had other choices. I believe my choice was environmentally correct.

I cannot speak for the last three owners of the Samoa mill. What I can tell you is during the years I worked with LP, I am not aware of any black smoke issue at night. There is no question that human error can occur that would cause extreme smell. However, I am unware of any employee doing anything purposely that would hurt the community they live in.

Lastly, the information in the North Coast Journal about Amy Goodman being invited to our rally was incorrect. I was asked who was invited. I responded by saying I was not at liberty to say. I was then asked what kinds of people would I like to see at the rally. I responded by saying we hoped to attract people such as Amy Goodman.

I hope this clears up your questions. You are certainly right to ask questions of the pulp mill. However, please don't make allegations unless you know what you are talking about. This blog is a certain case of mis-directed ignorant comments.

John Wood
10/19/2009 03:15:25 am

It's truly wonderful to see that the internet, the great equalizer of the media, can also be utilized by those who already have the print media in their pockets. I certainly hope that Mr. Simpson hears from the people of the county who see right through his public relations double speak. To suggest "I am not aware of any black smoke issue" is a clear example of the plausible deniability tactic so often employed in government.

Of course Mr. Simpson, you don't know about it so it doesn't exist, and if it does you cannot be held accountable. That's terribly convenient for you and assures the people of the county that you are worthy of our trust. And of course "human error" is the only way all those toxins could be released into the air, you were saving them up for a special occasion perhaps? Please don't pretend that environmentalists are all a bunch of crazies who don't know how good hearted you are.

You are not buying a pulp mill to win any popularity contests, you are buying it to make money. The model is simple and clear, your profits are bigger when you pollute the old fashioned way. It's cheaper and easier to buy off the so-called regulators and small time politicians, than it is to follow the laws as they are. You can suggest that the environment and the health of the people of this county are more important to you than your profits, but we know a load of B.S. when we hear it, smell it, breathe it. And now we know what B. S. really stands for, Bob Simpson!

Sorry Bob, Amy is only for the little guy, she is ours and will never tell your story the way you would like to hear it. If anything, you knew that and merely invoked her name because she is so righteous and popular in this area that you might benefit from the association, however remote. You'll always have the slime slandered, they'll print up your story just how you like it, again. You'll probably get everything you want, but you can't win the PR war against an informed public. Lay down your weapons, you're already out-gunned.

living in Eureka
10/19/2009 07:00:24 am

keep up the great work guys. I'm very sorry about the people who lost their jobs when the Pulp Mill closed....BUT!
what a great day for our beautiful city.

10/19/2009 09:50:35 am

Mr. Simpson, I have corrected the error with regards to the Surfrider's suit. I was a year off. I do apologize.

Here is the correction:
A year before his arrival in 1992, the plant was hit with a Surfrider's lawsuit. In 1994 the plant was "again listed as California's No. 1 industrial polluter of air, land and water, according to the EPA. However, data was collected prior to a multi-million upgrade that made the plant chlorine-free and the cleanest in the nation," according to the following Northcoast journal article of September 1995, . To his credit, he was there to contribute to the swtich to chlorine-free production. After that however, in 1995, the plant had to be shut down because of lawsuits and federal probes related to"a string of "incidents" affecting equipment and worker safety," according to LP.

ashes and dirty dust
10/19/2009 12:20:08 pm

Hey guys, enough with technical jargon. The majority of the public here on the coast does not want the Somoa Pulp Mill here in Eureka period. We HAVE seen the dark smoke cloud at night AND the ashes from the mill falling out of the sky as well as have it emit a naseating stench. We in Eureka have lost loved ones a many from what we say is due at least in part to the carciagen emisions from the pulp mill here in Eureka. Yes, folks. We have had mysterious headaches and nasea following "the dark clouds" Sometimes we here in Eureka have had headaches for days. We treasure our beautiful Eureka. Our hard working folks that have lost jobs at the mill will forge ahead....we always do

10/19/2009 02:22:58 pm

The Evergreen Pulp study that was never finished should be done regardless, I think this part is interesting stuff. The Gound and Water does not know or care who owes that Mill or piece of land. Either it's poisoning them or not! What happen to the earth, air and Water (rivers and Bay)happens to us living around this eco system.

The Evergreen Pulp an article about it said: Basically, they were supposed to test for hexavalent chromium and failed to do so in the remaining three years of their ownership. Also, Acrolein, a pulmonary irritant used as chemical warfare in WWI was present at very high levels. They never did a final draft of the health risk assessment."

this should be finished regardless if the Mill reopens or not.

10/20/2009 11:52:52 pm

I honestly think you all believe you are speaking the truth. Unfortunately, you are mis-informed.

First, I believe in environmental activism and the ability to move industry to do the right thing. Generally, capitalism does not work for the environment. For your efforts, I commend you.

My activism is to lead by example. Someone has to create a model in each industry that proves environmental health and economics can both be obtained. This is called balance. Something America is lacking.

The reason environmental groups, such as Greenpeace support my vision is they know that closing pulp mills down in America, a country that does regulate pollution, will increase global pollution somewhere else. American's have to take responsibility for the products they make and the pollution they produce in the process. It is not right to allow huge polluters in China to make people sick why the earn huge profits making product for americans. Nor is it sensible to continue shipping products from all over the world that each of us use in our daily lives just so we can avoid having an industrial plant in America. The solution is to tax foreign polluters who do not operate to U.S. pollution standards. Yes, you can call me a protectionist. And I will remain a protectionist as long as "global pollution" exists.

Cap & trade will not work until all countries obide by the same pollution standards.

With regards to black smoke, I have heard the rumors. They just are not true.

With regards to the FBI raids and closure of the plant, this occurred much after I was gone. For the record, the pulp mill was never closed under my watch. That said, there are things I would do today differently than I did in 1995. I suspect this applies to each of us. My understanding is Samoa Pacific was deemed to be innocent. Nevertheless, I don't care. I care about tomorrow.

Lastly, my actions speak louder than any words. I can honestly say that I am the only person who has ever signed a document to eliminate chlorine from a pulp mill in America. I can honestly say that I am partially responsible for the largest privately owned carbon sequestration project in the world, which is located in Tierra del Fuego. I took over for PL's former CEO, Bob Manne, who intended to clear cut these lands. Not one tree was cut while I was involved. I am proud to say I eliminated more than 5 million pounds per year of polystyrene being landfilled. I am proud to say I am a responsible, caring American.

John Wood
10/22/2009 03:53:20 am

I'm more impressed than ever about the power of the internet to bring the community together. I never expected a conversation to take place on this page and I must applaud Mr. Simpson for making himself so accessible. This is at least one case where you have made a significant distinction between yourself and other CEOs in your industry. You are either choosing to put your body on the front lines of public relations, or you are the real deal just trying to get across.

You made some surprisingly good points this time around that you neglected to mention before. We do need to keep our industries local and stop exporting our jobs and pollution, and importing our resources. Will you refuse to export your products? You may have a point about "Cap and Trade" but that's not why you and the rest of the polluting industries are against it. We all know that the caps on pollution are already weak, but you still don't want to agree to them because they cut into the bottom line. Even when you are enticed with free credits (a license to pollute) you would still have to curb emissions beyond what you are willing to do.

You have truly been on the inside and of course you know intimately the goings on of the industry both on the ground and in the boardroom. So how can you repeatedly assure us that we are "mis-informed" while simultaneously feigning ignorance on specific points of topic that don't favor your reputation? If you can be so unsure about somethings, how is it your so sure that we're wrong about everything? Isn't it possible that we have a better view of what sits in your blind spot? It's more likely that it's not a blind spot at all, but a smoke screen.

You are very proud of your past titles and positions and according to you nothing has ever gone wrong on your watch. In fact, your the reason things are better than they may otherwise be and you want a chance to give Humboldt Bay the cleanest pulp mill ever. You even consider yourself an environmental activist working from the inside out, that's great! We really need someone on the inside willing to make the necessary changes to provide a valuable resource without emitting toxins and damaging the environment. Welcome aboard!

If you choose to lead by example and your actions speak louder than your words, instead of just assuring us that we're all crazy and you're a great guy, why not make some pledges, and further more some solid policy? Let's hear what you will and will not do, with or without political permission to pollute.

Will you pledge (make policy) to:

Reduce all toxic emissions to less than the allowable limits and stop applying for further allowances and extensions to pollute?

Keep an open dialogue with the surrounding communities and cooperating with mediation and resolution of issues?

Reduce shipping by not exporting to other countries and sourcing as locally as possible?

Provide good living wage jobs to the local community free to unionize and bargain collectively?

Provide for medical funds in cases where Cancer or other illnesses have been shown to result from the emissions of your facilities?

Allow for 3rd party inspections of the facilities by environmental groups who wish to also monitor your emissions and other policies?

I hope others will join in and ad to this list because I'm not qualified to make a comprehensive list of requests/questions/demands. These are just a few things that I'd like to see all industry heads do (not just pledge or promise to do) and I could come up with more if I had more time. I also believe in "the ability to move industry to do the right thing." In this age of Obama we have already seen too much hope and not enough change, will Bob Simpson be the change he wishes to see in the world? Let's not hope, lets make that change!

10/22/2009 04:57:22 am

First, If I have offended you I offer my sincere apology. That is not my intention.

Due to the manner in which a pulp mill operates, you cannot save up waste throughout the day and burn it at night, thus creating black ash. It just doesn't work that way. I have asked questions of union and non-union employees and thus far have not found this accusation to be true.

I am an environmental advocate. If I have inferred you are crazy, then I am guilty by association. Just a couple of nuts I guess.

All of your requests were included in our business plan. My desire is to eliminate pollution from the pulp mill and set the example for the industry. I have already stated environmental advocates would serve as an advisory board and have complete access to all environmental records as well as the power to release quarterly reports.

If you want change. I am your guy. FYI,

International Paper Company announced today the permanent closure of three U.S. pulp mills. They have taken over $1 billion from a loophole in the alternative fuel credit this year. Do an internet search on black liquor subsidy. Not a penny of the money received was reinvested in pollution prevention. Now they close the pulp mill and fleece the tax payer. Thank you Congress. Another job poorly done!

If you want to join my pursuit of environmental change, email me at I will foward you information that should convince you of my sincere goals.

Alan Crane
10/22/2009 06:58:49 am

I think Mr. Simpson mat be well advised to remember the #1 rule of Public Relations:

Perception IS Reality

Regardless of which side is "right" in this debate, it seems the history of the mill has colored the public perception of the operations there. Mr Simpson may want to find an alternative investment opportunity, as it looks like a long string of litigation may be headed his way should he continue with his plans.
Mr Simpson, I would ask you to consider the following: Do you truly feel that opening a very unpopular business in an area known for political and social activism is a well-reasoned pursuit?

John Wood
10/22/2009 09:00:33 am

I am not offended, your initial comments were sharp and dismissive of the author(s) of the blog and I chimed in on their behalf. As someone who suffers severe allergies and asthma I am hard-wired to mistrust those who represent polluting industries. And as a small business man who has had a very humble upbringing I harbor a deep resentment for the ownership class. As you mentioned "Generally, capitalism does not work for the environment." I would ad even more generally, it does not work for people, or the world we share.

That said, I would very much like to see the information you have regarding your goals. Can you make them available on this website for the rest of the people interested? However, I'm not done with the list above and I'd like to hear from others who have greater knowledge on the issues with the mill.

One thing I can ad to the list now regarding current news is this:

Will you cap executive salaries and bonuses and work to reduce the gap between executive pay and that of the average worker?

Anon of Ibid
10/23/2009 12:41:57 am

In my 12 years in Eureka, I have not seen black smoke from the pulp mill. Does anyone have a photograph of this black smoke? A log of which days it was issuing?

Basically, [citation needed]!

10/24/2009 11:21:53 pm

One of the great aspects of blogs is the ability for people to express themselves, regardless of their views. Thank you for reading mine.

It appears we will be unable to agree on the issue of black smoke. If we were operating the mill, I believe I could scientifically prove there is no black smoke released at night.

Other than Bio oxygen chemical demand (BOD), which can be reduced far below federal standards, all other toxic air emissions were below federal standards when the Samoa mill was closed. Regardless, our plans would significantly reduce air emissions and create a new standard for the pulping industry.

I have been completely transparent in releasing information, and I have reached out to environmental advocacy groups even prior to purchasing the Samoa mill. My motivation for doing so is to hear the concerns of the community.

If the Samoa mill were operating as a tissue plan, all of its production will be sold in the United States. Our motto is Red...White...Blue...GREEN

The mill has a union and I will not eliminate people's rights. We intended to run the Samoa mill as an employee owned company. This is not a publically traded company stricken with corporate greed for wealth and power. It is a company currently consisting of three local people who have the desire to take on the giants (P&G, KC, GP, and SCA) by producing an eco-friendly product. With the support of Sierra-Club, Greenpeace, Baykeepers and others, our product could easily be consumed in a U.S. regional market.

Our business plans commit the company to having environmental advocacy groups as members of an environmental advisory board with the authority and powers to direct environmental standards, and they would be responsible to provide monthly reports to the public.

With regards to funding medical expenses, that is a bit more complicated than you might imagine. As you know, there are numerous causes of cancer, including air, water, food chemicals, etc. If the Samoa mill were the only potential source for sickness, this would be an easy discussion. I think the solution is to either scientifically eliminate any threat of cancer from the Samoa mill operation, or don't run it at all.

As I have read, some people do believe perception is reality. The answer is to prove to the public the Samoa mill is clean and safe. Please read this statement closely. The right to operate a manufacturing plant in America is NOT a given. It should be a privilege granted to those who earn public trust.

Enjoy your weekend.


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