The California Regional Water Quality Control Board North Coast Region meeting concerning the waste water discharge permitting process was held Thursday April 23rd at the Fortuna River Lodge Conference Center. Freshwater Pulp was denied a continuance of permit as is for affluent discharge. DG Energy is still in compliance and will be using the affluent line as is for the future.
There was enough paperwork passed out during this meeting to keep this pulp mill running for awhile. Staff for the board gave a history report of the pulp mill's repeated violations and their rationale for termination. Not a pretty scenario for the public.
Freshwater Pulp spokesman Bob Simpson outlined the vision for the new mill. He felt LP did not market the "Totally Chlorine Free" (TCF) pulp properly and should have claimed, "Dioxin Free Pulp."
Bob also made public that "Worthy Pick" did not buy the mill, but that subsidiaries "United States Lee and Man" and "Hong Kong Lee and Man" did a complicated stock swap sale of assets.
Mr. Simpson is proposing a Pulp/Paper Tissue plant that will produce between 520 and 550 tons of TCF pulp that would be converted to a finished green "tissue" product. Theoretically, this would be 40% of the total tissue market in California.
Mr. Simpson also framed his potential business as a "Recycle Plant" that will use "Residual" chips from sawmills and tan oak "Weeds of the forest" chipping products. He gave calculations of "residual" chips from sawmills in this form, 50% of a log is turned into lumber. 35% is turned into chips. 13% is bark and the rest sawdust and shavings. His proposed new chip mix at Freshwater Pulp will be 50% Tan Oak, 40% Redwood and 10% Douglas Fir. (Pretty Standard for tissue conversion without the redwood factor.)
Mr. Simpson spoke against a "Secondary Treatment Plant" saying that their processing "Mistakes" would end up there, and he wanted to be a "Model" of compliance.
Then there was public comment. On written record against continuing the variance were:
Northern California River Watch
Coast Action Group
Friends of Garcia River
Individuals who spoke against the continuing the variance were:
Carol Binder of Eureka: She said that visible air particles were an issue. Smoke and Ash have been observed and she claimed pulp ills were known polluters.
Patrick Eytcheson of Eureka: He said after 4 decades of a series of owners the mill has consistently been non compliant. After many complex environmental upgrades and a well financed owner in Lee and Man, the mill was not able to comply with environmental standards. He questioned what capital finances were available by the new owners and felt that it was time to pull the plug on the pulp mill.
Xandra Manns of Eureka: Was upset that environmental upgrades were not completed to this day. Violations kept happening while rules were in affect. She was offended that Tan Oaks were referred to as "weeds of the forest" and pointed out that they were in fact "Sacred to the Native Americans." She wanted the pulp mill to disappear.
None of the General public spoke in favor of the pulp mill.
When the Board considered Civil charges against Evergreen Pulp, I gave testimony of the need of the regulatory agency to take legal action and leave a "trail" for us former workers to have possible chances to garner some funds owed to our union workers. They voted yes and hopefully we can learn more of litigation in the future.
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