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EPA's Cluster Rules Out
- To: email@example.com
- Subject: EPA's Cluster Rules Out
- From: "Charlie Cray" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 15:58:58 +0000
- Comments: Authenticated sender is <email@example.com>
- Organization: Greenpeace
- Priority: normal
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, November 14, 1997
Contact: Rick Hind, Greenpeace (202) 319-2505
WHITE HOUSE BOWS TO PAPER COMPANIES FOR LESS THAN 0.2 CENTS
BETRAYS ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE COMMITMENT
November 14, 1997, Washington, DC - Greenpeace and the
Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) today condemned the White
House's decision to not seek strong regulations to protect America's
rivers from paper mill discharge. Instead, the Clinton
Administration signed new regulations that will continue to put
African American, Asian American, and Native American communities
near paper mills at a higher risk.
Tom Goldtooth of the IEN said, "EPA's proposal contradicts the
Clinton Administration's own executive order on environmental justice
and ignores urgent appeals from many Indian tribes and tribal
organizations. This decision further calls into question this
administration's commitment to the 1984 Indian Policy they pledged to
The rule announced today assumes that people eat no more than 140
grams (4.9 ounces) of freshwater fish per day. However, low-income
populations living downstream from paper mills are known to eat up to
400 grams (14 ounces) of freshwater fish per day, disproportionately
increasing their exposure.
The new rule is a major retreat by the Clinton Administration from a
stronger 1993 proposal which EPA called a "milestone for using
pollution prevention." The new rules were heavily lobbied for by the
paper industry. As a result, approximately 100 U.S. bleach mills will
be required to do little more than most are already doing, using
chlorine dioxide bleach processes.
Although cost was cited as a rationale, a stronger rule would cost
consumers between zero to 0.2 cents per five hundred sheets of paper.
"If cost was truly an issue, large paper users such as TIME Magazine,
McDonald's, Kinko's, and Ben & Jerry's would not have called for a
stronger rule," said Rick Hind, Legislative Director for the
Greenpeace USA Toxics Campaign.
Citing EPA documents, Greenpeace has pointed out fatal flaws in the
EPA's risk assessment:
*** Virtually all of EPA's data on paper mill pollution comes from
an industry notorious for producing "cigarette science."
*** The EPA's own assessment found that these communities are at a
1,000 times greater cancer risk then is normally considered
"acceptable" under most EPA regulation of toxic chemicals.
*** The EPA focused on only 13 regulated pollutants instead of the
159 toxins found at paper mills.
*** The EPA vastly underestimates the amount of contaminated fish
that people living near paper mills are known to eat.
"Worst of all, this pollution is completely preventable. Thanks to
more than 10 years of work by Greenpeace and other environmental
groups, a safe, totally chlorine-free, paper manufacturing process
is now widely used in Europe," said Hind.
PHOTO/SLIDES OF GREENPEACE ACTION AT EPA HQ AVAILABLE
One last question for the EPA and a few points
that elaborate on our press release:
1) The EPA has refused requests under the FIOA (I can fax you our
appeal) for copies of the two environmental justice analyses the
Agency says were done in 1996 in preparation of this rule. Are those
analyses available today? If not, when will they be available?
2) The Administration's flip-flop on this issue came after companies
like Georgia Pacific (GP) and International Paper (IP) led intensive
lobbying efforts using Lee Thomas, former EPA head, now with GP and
Tom Jorling, form head of EPA Office of Water, now with IP.
3) This rule is so weak it simply requires the majority of
the industry to do what they are already doing, using chlorine
dioxide bleaching. GP & IP represent 47% of the volume of bleached
paper made this way. --- According to Fortune this industry had $120
billion in sales last year.
4) The paper industry is one of the largest polluters of our
nation's waters with chlorine by-products like dioxin which
bioaccumulate in fish by a factor as high as 200,000 times.
5) According to the EPA approximately one million Americans live
near pulp and paper mills and eat the fish from waters polluted by
6) Recent studies also show that paper mill workers are also at risk
from the toxic by-products of chlorine based bleach processes. And
neighboring communities are often evacuated due to explosions that
release deadly clouds of chlorine gas.