Groups Notify Evergreen Pulp Mill of Intent to File Suit

Groups Notify Evergreen Pulp Mill of Intent to File Suit

November 1, 2005

For more information, please contact:
Elizabeth Eytchison, Citizens Pulp Mill Committee, 707-443-7926
Jason Beaver, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, 707-445-5100 x. 207
Sharon Duggan, EPIC, 510-271-0825

Eureka, CA — Three North Coast citizens groups notified Evergreen Pulp, Inc. (Evergreen) today of their intent to file suit if significant and on-going violations of the Samoa pulp mill’s federal air quality permit are not corrected within 60 days.

In documents filed with state and federal agencies, Evergreen has admitted to exceeding emission limits for particulate matter since the day it purchased the mill in bankruptcy proceedings in January. The company also reported that, in addition to numerous past violations, equipment installed to correct the problems broke down eighteen times in a recent four-week period. The violations also include excessive emissions of total reduced sulfur.

The groups sending the notice, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, Environmental Protection Information Center and Citizens Pulp Mill Committee, seek to enforce the Clean Air Act under provisions that allow citizens to file suit when government fails to act.

“Our neighborhood is exposed to the toxics from the pulp mill all the time and Evergreen’s violations are a direct concern to us,” said Elizabeth Eytchison of the Citizen’s Pulp Mill Committee. “Our children are sick, people suffer and nothing changes. We decided it was time to act.”

According to the U.S. EPA, exposure to the types of emissions produced by Evergreen’s Samoa pulp mill (very fine particles referred to as PM10), are most closely associated with health effects such as; increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits for heart and lung disease, increased respiratory symptoms and disease, decreased lung function, and even premature death.

“The Clean Air Act is law written to protect people from industries that profit by polluting our air with chemicals known to rob us of our health,” said Jason Beaver of Eureka-based Californians for Alternatives to Toxics. “It’s a bad business practice to shift the cost of operations to the community in the form of increased asthma and heart problems suffered particularly by children and the elderly.”

The groups’ notice seeks remedies provided under the Clean Air Act, including assessment of civil penalties and “other appropriate relief against Evergreen for all its violations and harm.”

“Evergreen knew when it assumed ownership of the mill that it had a duty to comply. It had a duty to the public and to its workers to provide a legally compliant facility that could be sustaining,” said Sharon Duggan of the Environmental Protection Information Center. “Evergreen has trivialized that duty from the outset.”