Thursday, January 08, 2009

More Obstacles for Evergreen. Over a million in water discharge fines.

The California Regional Water Quality Control Board put out a Notice of a Public Hearing to Termination Waste Discharge Requirements. This agency is going to modify the agreement that Evergreen had with the district concerning Evergreen's affluent to the Ocean.

Addendum: Evergreen owes $463,000 in fines for non compliance of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) levels for 2005 to 2007. This last year of 2008, Evergreen went over permitted limits 252 times. Evergreen Violations The minimum fines levied for each offense is $3,000. So Evergreen is looking at another $756,000 in fines at the least. According to California Regional Water Quality Control Board Water Resource Control Engineer Charles Reed, unless Evergreen or any new prospective buyer submits a report of waste discharge to describe how it intends to operate the Facility and is able to justify through engineering upgrades, substantial improvements, the pulp mill will not receive a new permit.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

After reading the document from your link to the CA Regional Water Quality Control Board, who is ACE Mill from item #4 below? Is this Bob Simpson's project? Will this kill his purchase plan?

4.The Regional Water Board received notice of the sale of the Facility to ACE Mill, Inc. on December 12, 2008. ACE Mill has not, however, contacted the Regional Water Board regarding its planned operations of the Facility, the status of its WDRs, or its ability to discharge waste during the operation of the Facility.

Anonymous said...

ACE mills is not Bob Simpson. It is another outfit out of Nevada trying to purchase the plant.

Anonymous said...

the regional wqb is a waist of time,money and energy/ much like epic,baykeeper and the other blood sucking org leeches

Anonymous said...

It means that the existing discharge permit is to be terminated.

The new owner will have to go through a new permit process and make necessary upgrades to comply with current laws in order to get a new permit.

It means that after a new buyer pays a few million to acquire the mill it will have to make improvements that will probably cost a few million more in order to satisfy the board before they get a new permit to operate.

This of course is after South Coast gets their 1.4 million which has been converted to a first deed of trust.

Looks to me like this horse is dead and starting to rot.

Anonymous said...

An obstacle, or is it really maybe just another opportunity to get everyone on board in order to lend their support behind the economic cornerstone of the community- the Evergreen Pulp Mill.

There needs to be (if you will), a renaissance, or revival of sorts, of across the board cooperation from all affected governmental agencies such as the regional water board, etc., along with all various local interests. If need be, a variance could be issued on the permit process until outstanding concerns are addressed at a later date.

At this point in time, the former pulp mill workers and their managers (plus the local community at large) need to stage a large rally to stand behind these jobs- and the tax benefits which the mill provides to the entire region.

At the end of the day, the employee group at Evergreen could then issue just a simple short statement through the media maybe saying: "Hey, thanks for the cooperation!"

What day and time will the Evergreen Pulp Mill support rally be, so that others can join in and show their support?!?

Have it right there in downtown Eureka and combine it with a parade of sorts for the pulp mill and all other forest products related industry.

It's about time, isn't it!

Anonymous said...

The government regulators can read the tea leaves; they see the lack of broad public support for the Samoa mill and they feel emboldened to pile on.

If they felt that the community really backed the mill, they would have been more reluctant to add to the mill's difficulties.

This move also gives the regulators a seat at the table if a solution is presented. Remember, regulators are not there to add value, they are there to regulate; a seat at the table is an effective way of becoming more important.

Humboldt County has a real leadership vacuum. I hear a lot of platitudes from the "leaders", but there has been no real action by community leaders in the past two months.

All the community "leaders" wring their hands and make nice statements, but nobody has done anything.

8:36's statement was a far stronger call for action than any community leader has made.

My guess is that the community "leaders" are waiting to see which way the wind blows.

Not A Native said...

Anon 8:36, I don't think the situation is so simple or clear as you portray it. The mill should be operated to be compliant with air and water quality requirements. Thats a necessary condition for the plant to keep the community's support.

The water board is doing it job, making it clear that any transaction has to include meeting water discharge requirements. I think the community will support a buyer who commits to doing that immediately.

If you read the draft discharge permit of June 2008, it said that Evergreen had proposed adding some equipment that would reduce the pollutants, intending to come into compliance. A buyer needs to revisit that proposal and make necessary improvements before reopening the plant.

Anonymous said...

NAN

If you look at the BOD standards, they are written for a mill discharging into an inland fresh water stream. The Samoa mill is the only mill in the U.S. that discharges into the ocean, which is a completely different case than a closed inland body of water.

Given that the Samoa mill discharges into the ocean, there is (or should be) room for regulatory flexibility.

Requiring several million dollars of BOD capital expenditures on top of a bad pulp market, the costs of reopening a shuttered mill, and the required working capital is almost certainly the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Talking about kicking a man when he is down!

lodgepole said...

So even after all the improvements Evergreen made, they still couldn't operate the mill legally? And even with all the illegal water discharges they still couldn't make money? At a certain point we're beating a dead horse folks.

samoasoftball said...

I made an oops. It was 252 violations in 2008. $756,000 in minimum potential fines.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks for giving us the additional info regarding the violations, Richard.

There have been some very good points noted though, throughout this thread about the mill discharge issue and permit process.

Both gaining and keeping community support and trust is important.

I still think that some form of a community rally is good in order to show support for the mill.

Obstacles can be overcome. Solutions can be found if everyone is willing to work at it.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the local solutions/ DUHC agenda will get another huge win and reach yet another milestone. The rest of the community takes another leap toward total dependence on government and a welfare county. Yea.

Anonymous said...

Richard,

Are there mixed signals going out about the mill? Thought that I heard something recently about some mill employees being contacted about a mill start-up in the near future.

Doesn't seem possible at the present time if there is an issue with the discharge permit.

What have you heard?

samoasoftball said...

8:52pm- Another roadblock. This is not giving a potential buyer a clear path to purchase this facility. I am disturbed by the Water Boards decision to make this a major concern now after nearly 300 violations. Why didn't they put Evergreen to task while they were running? Now they are just going to maybe cause the mill to not be purchased.

Steve Fleischer said...

When I ran the Stockton Pacific Mill, we had the same problem with BOD violations. We informed the CA Water Board in writing about every single violation. They did not act.

In fact, they gave us multiple verbal assurances and in one letter assured us that the violations were not an issue. As long as Stockton was a going concern, they were afraid to be the bad guy, so they kept quiet.

Then Gallegos launched his raid and the Water Board claimed to be shocked by these BOD violations.

They became our greatest critic and filed suit for $700,000 in fines.

That tracks what is now happening with Evergreen; the Water Board knew about the BOD violations, but only acted when it felt safe from public backlash.

One of their investigators, Roy O'Connor, was at the mill the day before the raid, eating our donuts while processing his reports. He had no sense of fear and was very comfortable being alone at the mill. The next day, he was part of the raid (they came armed in case we resisted), and was later given a commendation for "extraordinary actions in a difficult environment". No mention that he had been our guest for months. The commendation read as if he had singlehandedly charged a Chicom machine gun nest. Talk about being an Italian war hero!

I tell this story to illustrate how two faced these government bureaucrats are. More importantly, this incident shows how difficult it is to deal honestly with them.

Bottom line, anybody with capital would be well advised to keep his money out of their clutches. In my opinion, the Water Board has a bunch of dishonest snakes working there and I would advise investors to avoid dealing with them.

The actions of the Water Board seem to suggest that they now feel safe in attacking Evergreen. That means that they not fear any consequences to their actions.

Anonymous said...

yeah. Fuck the environment. Fuck anyone who's not for the mill. And while we're at it, lets clear cut every hill in the county.

Anonymous said...

I find it curious that Fleischer thinks investers should keep thier money and avoid dealing with the water quality board when even with all this knowledge he was willing to invest his his money in the mill in 2004.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that in this time of economic distress, that government needs to back off and encourage business rather than be a stumbling block. This is not about Evergreen or potential buyers, it is about the people who lost their jobs and the decrease in revenue to the local economy and the loss of tax base. Why do we allow these beaurocrats to continue to draw their salaries when so many people are in trouble and the main cause is crappy government!! Where is the money going to come from to pay these government beaurocrats salaries if all of industry leaves the state because of over regulation. After listening to local politicians for 50 years crow about how they are going to help the economy, take a look around and see what they have actually accomplished. Nothing!! I for one am tired of government interference in people's lives. As far as I know, there is only one effluent line in the ocean in this area and the ocean stretches for miles and miles. BOD is the lack of oxygen in the effluent being pumped into the ocean. The truth is that within minutes, the effluent is dispersed and regains it's oxygen content from the ocean. It is time to use common sense and base polution and environmental decisions on common sense.

Anonymous said...

BOD is not a lack of oxygen but the ability to consume oxygen.

Steve Fleischer said...

Anon 9:04

You are absolutely right. In 2004 I wanted to partner with the community and buy the mill. It was emotion rather than logic driven; I was fighting for the mill's survival and emotionally involved; not the best basis for any investment.

The effort failed and we sold the mill to Evergreen.

I spent most of 2005 fighting the various government regulators about the mill's past actions. It was an expensive and frustrating waste of time. I learned that nobody deserves California regulators and that a smart person does not do business in California.

If I had bought the mill, we would have made great money in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Every penny of profits would have been plowed back into the mill for environmental and operating improvements and we would have hit financial disaster in 2008. Pretty much what happened to Evergreen, except that I believe that they sent several million dollars to Lee & Man instead of spending it on the mill.

They also appear to have funded operations by stiffing workers and the business community.

I thank my lucky stars that my effort to buy the mill failed. Those years would have been hard work, frustrating and thankless.

Sometimes it pays to be lucky rather than smart.

Anonymous said...

BOD=Biological Oxygen Demand
It means oxygen is used by microbes feasting on the mill's effluent. I believe 1:24pm is correcr in that depleted oxygen is replaced upon contact with the ocean.

Anonymous said...

The solution to pollution is dilution.

samoasoftball said...

To all the naysayers: Do you use pulp and paper products? I will guess correctly yes. Would you like the pulp to be made domestically where it can be done as environmentally responsible as possible, or done abroad with no regulations on forestry practices and pollutants to the water systems. I only wish that all pulp products in the U.S. were converted into paper products in the States. That would produce many thousands of living wage jobs. We are in a time of dire need to build our economy, not just give up and send all of our manufacturing jobs overseas. When will it end? Only when we step up and say no more.

Anonymous said...

So organize the rally. I will be there.

Anonymous said...

The Regional Water Quality Control Board seems to make their standards tougher if any upgrades are done to the point of impossible to meet. Do they even know the water goes into the ocean? What about San Diego dumping its waste water into the ocean and at times beaches are declared unsafe when the pipe breaks. McKinleyville has had plenty of fines too as the discharge rules are getting pretty close to the water we drink which is also another impossible deal. There has been talk of running a pipe into the ocean to get around this one.

Anonymous said...

While I was working trying to make a living, and ignoring what was going on around me, the government has taken over almost every aspect of my life in one way or another. It is MY and OUR fault for letting them get out of control. Pretty soon, if not already, there will be more people paid by the state than workers in private enterprise. Guess who wins all the elections and makes the rules! My concern is for the people who lost their jobs at Evergreen. I guess there is a bright side. At least all the taxes we used to pay won't go to the state to help pay the 30 billion dollar budget deficit. Maybe we should crate another comission to study the problem!! We NEED to back off regulation and red tape and concentrate on putting people back to work. I too, will be at the rally.

pooper said...

What about an "information only" picket set up out side the entrance to the mill and invite the media!!! I'll bring the beans and weenies.Any takers?????

Anonymous said...

10 to 1 says Rex Bohn would show up in support of the workers as quite a few of their kids play ball. And probably supply the BBQ like he did at the shutdown.

pooper said...

That would work to....Rex is good for public relations.Only as long as he kept his fingers out of the food!!!!!

Anonymous said...

It is long overdue for some form of a major rally of support, preferrably where there is as much visibility as possible.

I can't speak for the other posters on this blog thread, however I for one, am sick and tired of seeing what has become of our domestic manufacturing industry here in this country. The vast majority of politicians in my opinion, have failed us.

A date needs to be set and the AWPPW headquarters needs to be contacted. I am sure that they know of people who are just as sick and tired as I am of this continual B.S. that has taken all the good paying jobs away from thousands of honest folks and or their families out here on the west coast.

Once a date and time is set, get the word out to the community and media as well.

While the recent markets were affected by the crazy mortgage mess, rest assured that the loss of all the millions of middle class manufacturing jobs and industry here in the U.S. has also had just as much as an negative impact on the economy as well.

Toss a date out there, I'd like to attend too and I'll pass the word on to some others whom also will probably like to show their support too!

Fed up, had a enough of the B.S.- you bet!

Anonymous said...

Hello Everyone,
Well as most of you probably already know from reading today's paper the North Coast Quality water management district has decided to flex their muscle. I talked to Bobby Simpson for about an hour today to find out what is going on. He said part of the problem is they are pissed off because they did not get paid the 460,000 that evergreen owes them, so this is there way of announcing that they are getting in line with a lien plus they now want to force the issue of putting in secondary treatment. Bobby made it very clear that if they force the secondary treatment that he will pull his offer and it will be the end of the mill. One good thing on our side is Bobby was there when the original agreement was made with the NCQMD, and the agreement was if the mill extended the outfall line then secondary treatment would not be necessary. He plans on calling them this coming Monday to try and get this worked out. As far as the sale is going it is still moving forward. Bobby had a meeting with Tsang yesterday in SF and gave him his offer. Tsang is taking that offer back to Lee and Mann and should have an answer for Bobby on Monday or Tuesday. We are still in escrow with Ace mills, Rick Steed, but Bobby is forcing Tsang to get out of that deal and enter into escrow with him. There is more to this but way to complicated to try and explain in an e mail. I will expand on it latter at the hall. The hope is that this can be a done deal by the end of next week. Like I said at the beginning if they force secondary treatment then it would be over. It would not hurt if calls where made to their office and ask them to back off or send letters to the editor. Any pressure that we can apply would help our case. The number for the NCQMD is 576-2220. We can call our local reps also and complain to them that the NCQMD is not being reasonable. I know we have been down this road before but it does work if enough people make some noise. When I hear anymore I will let you know. Also if you know of any other co workers that want to be on this list just have them contact me with their e mail address. Thanks,

Anonymous said...

FYI

Its the "North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board".

NCRWQCB

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Hello Everyone,
Also if you know of any other co workers that want to be on this list just have them contact me with their e mail address. Thanks, Richard, do you know how to contact this Anonymous?

samoasoftball said...

Tom Reilly-President Local 49. Thomasbuddylee@suddenlink.net