Regulatory agencies could have closed the Massie mine before those men died.  The company had a history of violations, but the town depended on those jobs. Concern came after the explosions and deaths.

It would have been easier to prevent the offshore oil accident on the B.P. site off the coast of Louisiana than it will be to clean it up. What measures did regulatory agencies take to prevent this environmental disaster? Apparently it was more important to get the oil and make the money. Concern came when the black muck was on its way to beaches in 5 states.

Freshwater Tissue doesn't even pretend it can meet environmental standards.  People want the jobs. There is an illusion that money will trickle down to the community.  The Samoa Pulp Mill (now Freshwater Tissue Co.) has a history of breakdowns and environmental violations, yet it is on the road to start up.  Concern and enforcement will come after the damage is done. People won't die in the mines or on a platform off the coast, but there will be damage to the Pacific Ocean, to the  air and to the health of people, animals and plants.  And then there is CANCER.

Our environmental agencies have become weak while corporations have become stronger and stronger.  We are all suffering the consequences.                                                                                               
4/30/2010 01:52:46 pm

The general relationship between government regulatory oversight, science, and environment and public health is important and complex. Since this is central to the issue of Freshwater's attempt to revive the Samoa mill, I'd like to make a few comments. First, most 'studies', such as Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs), offered by private companies to government agencies are generally not really science in the proper sense, but purchased arguments designed to show that a project fits regulatory parameters. I'm just making note of this because I want to end this with mention of some 'data' from CH2MHILL's October 2006 Health Risk Assessment for Evergreen. But first some orthodox scientific efforts. Several times reference has been made on this blog to "a 1995 John Hopkins study of pulp mill workers that found cancer rates for such workers are the same as for the public at large". I have not been able to locate such a 1995 study, but there is a 1998 study by Matanoski et. al. of the John Hopkin's Department of Epidemiology ("Industry-wide study of mortality of pulp and paper mill workers"; American Journal of Industrial Medicine)that reports on the same issue. As abstracted in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this reports findings that "The leukemia death rate in workers is not higher than the U. S. rate--but was higher than the rate in county populations surrounding mills." The study also reports that "--workers employed in mills using other chemical pulping operations (other than in finishing areas where workers had an elevated rate for liver cancer) had significantly elevated mortality from all causes, all cancers, heart disease, lymphomas, and brain cancers." These findings have to do with internal comparisons of occupational characteristics within mills. The study also reports that "Lung cancer mortality was elevated in mills using kraft pulping." (The Samoa mill is a kraft mill.) Another study from this period that observed cancer risks for pulp mill workers to be "--significantly associated with work duration and time from first employment of 15 years or more--." is: Pierre R. Band, et. al., "Cohort Mortality Study of Pulp and Paper Workers in British Columbia, Canada"; American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 146, No. 2, 186-194. I'll wind this up with a few observations on the 2006 Evergreen/CH2MHILL Health Risk Assessment. As the authors of the report admit, this 'assessment' is not based on epidemiological data, as in the case of the studies cited above, nor, in most instances on actual on site air testing. Essentialy, the 'study' is assembled from averaged emissions data available through canned computer programs (HARP). This is standard procedure. The assessment's conclusions may or may not be accurate, but they are as much or more bureaucratic procedure than scientific study in a strict sense. Anyway, that said: the 2006 Assessment reports the Samoa Mill's cancer risk at its point of maximum impact (PMI) is 35 in 1 million. This is at the north fence line. In Californis a legally 'acceptable' cancer risk is 10 in i million. The cancer risk for residential locations 740 meters (2427 feet) southeast from the mill is 2.5 in 1 million according to CH2MHILL. And 1.4 in 1 million 500 meters (1640feet) south of the mill's boundary. Maybe so. But the distance between such a paid-for report and a true objective scientific study is pretty wide. Remember, British Petroleum's official Environmental Impact Report for the Deepwater Horizon rig that is now devistating the Louisiana coast assured the US government that the chance for a serious accident was nearly nonexistent.

4/30/2010 02:06:52 pm

long winded Bullshit !

5/1/2010 05:28:49 am

My, that's really intelligent. Sorry to be speaking over your head.

5/1/2010 05:34:38 am

I thought Oliver made some good points. First, it's interesting that the part of the John Hopkin's study that's been quoted earlier was only a part of what the actual study found. Apparently the study reported that pulp mill workers had higher cancer risks than the general populations in the counties surrounding the mills. I also thought Oliver's contrast between scientific studies and bureaucratic risk assessments was insightful. Thanks for reporting on your research, Oliver. I, for one, appreciated the information.

5/1/2010 05:43:13 am

Sorry but your speaking B.S.
And thats why I called it B.S.
Who are you to re-hash this fiction,and call it facts.

I'd like to make a few comments. First, most 'studies', such as Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs), offered by private companies to government agencies are generally not really science in the proper sense, but purchased arguments designed to show that a project fits regulatory parameters.

Give me a break !

5/1/2010 06:14:52 am

You may not agree with my analysis but calling it BS or simply saying 'Give me a break" is not an argument. It's just name calling. What do you think about the example I gave of British Petroleum's EIR for the Deepwater Horizon rig? I imagine a lot of people in Louisiana and Alabama right now are saying "Give me a break" too.

5/1/2010 06:47:05 am

I've noticed a pattern on this blog. When people supporting Freshwater make long comments citing studies and regulations these are generally responded to with courteous disagreement by the mill's opponents. If someone, such as Oliver, does the same thing the response is crude invective. I'm not sure what this means. I think Oliver's distinction between what academics would consider a proper scientific study (the kind of thing published in scientific journals) and the kind of document represented by Evergreen's 2006 Health Risk Asssessment makes sense. This doesn't mean that the 2006 Assessment was (necessarily) 'bad' or 'wrong', it just means that, compared with an academic scientific study, it's a different kind of document with a different kind of purpose.

dedicated westender
5/4/2010 04:52:04 pm

It's obvious to me that the people discussing this the most are folks who care about children and grandchildren growing up in a polluted atmosphere. It's clear to me that they care about the mill workers and their children and grandchildren too. So don't get so defensive. Maybe they don't have all the answers about what to do about the loss of jobs but maybe that is what we should be talking about. What kinds of work can people do to make a living in Humboldt. It's easy to reopen the mill and allow it to pollute and that takes care of it. But it really doesn't.


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