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Re:press release/Envir. groups/EPA Cluster rule/paper/pulp

  People for Puget Sound
  Washington Toxics Coalition
  Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment
  Olympic Environmental Council
  Tongass Conservation Society
  Women's Voices for the Earth
  Native Forest Network
  Indigenous Environmental Network
  Washington Public Interest Research Group
  Montana Coalition for Health Environmental and Economic Rights
  Cold Mountains Cold Rivers
  Ecology Center of Ann Arbor
  Nov.14, 1997
  Laurie Valeriano, Washington Toxics Coalition 206-632-1545
  Pam Johnson, People for Puget Sound 206-382-7007
  Bryony Schwan, Women's Voices for the Earth 406-543-3747
  Northwest Groups Outraged As EPA Opts for Pulp Mill Standards that
  Fail to Protect Children, Tribes and Environmental Health
  The Clinton Administration today signed into rule a package of water and
  air standards for the nation's pulp mills which is being denounced by
  environmental justice and health advocates because it fails to protect
  vulnerable populations, especially children and tribes. The announcement
  comes only three years after President Clinton proclaimed that he would
  bring justice to communities bearing a disproportionate share of
  environmental pollution and signing Environmental Justice Executive Order
  #12898 (Feb. 1994). The standards signed today contradict this Order,
  allowing kraft pulp mills to use chlorine dioxide bleaches. Despite the
  existence of chlorine-free alternatives -widely used by dozens of mills in
  Europe-the Clinton Adminstration will continue to allow harmful chlorinated
  pollutants, such as dioxin, to be released to the environment each year
  threatening the health of children, tribes and the environment.
   "Mills around the world produce pulp without producing deadly chlorinated
  poisons," said Laurie Valeriano of the Washington Toxics Coalition.  "Gore
  and Clinton are ignoring this fact and the impacts of their rule on
  people's health."
  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first proposed the "Cluster Rule"
  in December 1993 to regulate air and water discharges, especially dioxin,
  from pulp and paper mills citing concerns over human health "particularly
  for people who depend on fishing." The EPA's own data in the Dioxin
  Reassessment (1994) shows that in addition to Native Americans, low income,
  African American and Asian populations totalling 700,000 people eat 140 to
  400 grams of fish each day, compared to the 1 - 6.5 grams per day for the
  "average" American. For this rule, EPA even admitted that an evaluation of
  fish consumption information from two tribes revealed "elevated risks of
  contracting cancer from consuming contaminated fish due to higher
  consumption levels."
  "The new rule perpetuates the contamination of tribal food supplies and
  tribal people. President Clinton is not recognizing his own Indian policies
  for tribes," said Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network.
  "It is a betrayal of the highest magnitude ."
  EPA proposed two technology options in the cluster rule-"Option A" (the one
  that was chosen) and "Option B." "Option B" would have added the use of
  oxygen in the pulping process and is a necessary first step towards a
  totally chlorine-free closed loop mill, where mills use less water, less
  chemicals and discharge no wastewater. The Administration caved into
  industry pressure led by the American Forest & Paper Association and chose
  the weakest option based on chlorine dioxide.
  "President Clinton issued stirring Executive Orders on environmental
  justice and protecting children within the last year," said Bryony Schwan
  of Womens Voice's for the Earth (Missoula, MT). "But when it comes to
  actual decisions about what polluters can dump into the environment,
  justice and children's health take a back seat to corporate profits."
  Laurie Valeriano
  WA Toxics Coalition
  4516 University Way NE
  Seattle WA 98105
  206-632-1545; 206-632-8661 (fax)
  Bill Ravanesi
  52 Washington Park
  Newton, MA 02160