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EPA's Cluster Rules Out

  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                     Friday, November 14, 1997
  Contact:  Rick Hind, Greenpeace  (202) 319-2505
  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.
  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.