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Fenholloway Dioxin Pipeline PLan Challenged
This article would have been more appropriately named: Challenge filed
against backward plan to build 15-mile fish-mutating pipeline to the Gulf
Challenge filed on plan to clean
State By T. CHRISTIAN MILLER
Business ©St. Petersburg Times, published August 28,
Editorials & TALLAHASSEE -- Opponents of a plan to clean
Letters up North Florida's Fenholloway River filed
one protest against the project Wednesday
Local and promised another one today.
Steve Medina, attorney for the opponents,
Floridian said the plan to pump treated wastewater
Sections from the Buckeye Cellulose mill through a
------------ 15-mile pipeline would result in further
Classifieds damage to the river, one of Florida's most
Some of his clients are commercial
Area Guide fishermen who fear the pipeline will do
serious damage to fishing, he said.
Connections "The bottom line is that this is
environmental degradation," Medina said.
------------ "The public deserves better."
The protests, filed with Department of
Environmental Protection, could delay the
project for months until they a heard by an
administrative law judge.
Buckeye officials, who said they hadn't
seen the petitions yet, said the
$40-million project is designed to restore
the river to a natural state and improve
marine life in the area. State
environmental regulators have said they
agree with the company's cleanup plan.
"We want to maintain and even improve
beyond the water quality of today," said
Dan Simmons, a spokesman for Buckeye, in
The petitions against the plan could take
months to resolve. Until then, the cleanup
plan is on hold.
The protests are just the latest move in a
long-running battle between
environmentalists, the state Department of
Environmental Protection and Buckeye, which
produces cellulose used in making
disposable diapers, rayon and other
The Buckeye plant sits on the Fenholloway,
which was declared an industrial river by
the state in 1947. Waste from the plant has
killed seagrass, and some scientists blame
the discharge for mutated fish found in the
To clean up the river, state environmental
regulators and the company want to pump the
plant's treated wastewater to the mouth of
the river. The idea is that the salty
wastewater will do less damage near the
gulf than upstream in the freshwater river.
The plan also calls for adding oxygen to
the wastewater to improve conditions for
marine life and changing manufacturing
techniques to reduce by half the waste's
dark color and elemental chlorine content.
Simmons said the company also wants to
restore some 7,000 acres of wetlands near
the mouth of the river.
But Medina said the plans have not been
studied enough. One of his clients' biggest
concerns, he said, is that the wastewater
discharge near the gulf will affect
commercial fishing throughout the area.
The fishermen, already hurting from the
constitutional ban on net fishing, fear
that discharging wastewater near the gulf
will harm fish.
"It will affect their livelihood," Medina
But Ronnie Edwards, a dump truck driver in
Perry who filed the administrative petition
Wednesday, said he worries that the water
still won't be safe.
Edwards emphasized that he doesn't want to
see a shut down of the mill, whose cleanup
plan has been widely praised by Perry
"We want the mill to clean up and expand to
hire more people," Edwards said. "This
little county down here is down in the
dumps when it comes to jobs."
©Copyright 1997 St. Petersburg Times. All
For more info:
Joy Towles Cummings, President
HOPE (Help Our Polluted Environment) In Taylor County, Florida
P. O. Box 327
Salem, Florida 32356
850 584-4544 phone
850 838-1464 fax
Joseph Cutter, President
Friends of the Fenholloway River
Route 1 Box 1130
Perry, Florida 32347
phone 904 584-6513
fax 904 584-3644
no email yet