A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 May 3, 1990

MAY 7, 1990


3 Hazardous Waste Incinerators to be constructed by ENSCO with a capacity of 130,000 tons a year
7 hazardous waste landfills
2/3rd's of the waste for the landfill would be from out-of-state
94% or more of the hazardous waste for the incinerators would be from out-of-state

Location of project:

In the town of Mobile, population approx. 100, 40 miles southwest of Phoenix

On Monday, May 7, a public hearing was set on the proposed hazardous waste plans. Between 400-500 people attended. The hearing was held at a small school, in a room that had been partitioned off to limit seating. The room filled, with approx 100 people seated, 150 people standing against the walls, and 250 people outside the building. The Chairman of the hearing commission opened the meeting and asked those without seats to leave the room. The citizens asked that the meeting be moved outside to accommodate everyone who wanted to participate. The request to hold the meeting outside triggered a police action of unwarranted brutal force. In interviews with Bradley Angel of Greenpeace and other residents, Waste Not was informed that the police “just started attacking the crowd.” The police climbed over chairs, pulled on people, beat up on people, and used stun guns. The reaction from people attending the hearing was outrage. One person told Waste Not she was absolutely terrified. The police action was totally unprovoked. Everyone who spoke with us said that a state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) representative, Nancy Wrona, pointed out certain people to the police so the police could remove them from the hearing. The police arrested a total of 18 people. According to Bradley Angel there were 65 sheriff deputies, a SWAT team, a canine police squad, and air support, with more police units in the desert. The Head of the DEQ said in a radio interview on May 8 that he saw Bradley Angel on a chair waving his arms. screaming and yelling. Bradley said that is an “absolute lie.” Bradley was one of the first pounced on by the police and was immediately arrested. The hearing went on to 1:30 am, with an interruption around 10:30 pm for four more police arrests. Melody Baker of MOM CARES spoke to Randy Wood, the director of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), when the 10:30 pm arrests were taking place and asked Wood to stop the police action. Wood replied: “You caused this and you got to live with it. You were the one who disseminated the information.” All people interviewed by Waste Not attested to the fact that the citizens did nothing more than to chant “Move the meeting outside”, that they were not violent nor did anything to provoke the police action. According to interviews it appeared the police were “ready to do something and that the DEQ wanted the police to so something.” Melody Baker of MOM CARES witnessed the police, with flashlights, taking the license plate numbers of the cars parked in the car lot. The Greenpeace members were obviously targeted to be removed from participating at the public hearing, as were others, yet their only role at the hearing was to present their prepared statements on the project.

THE PROPOSAL: Most residents of the state were not even aware of this massive hazardous waste proposal that the state had been working on for 10 years. The state-supported project was given statewide attention when Greenpeace did a 5-day action at the state capital the week preceding Earthday. (Greenpeace chained a bed to the gates at the state capital for five days. In bed were two people: one representing ENSCO and one representing the DEQ). Even though the state had not issued permits, nor completed the public hearing process, millions of dollars of state money was spent to bring in electricity and roads to this site. The location for this project is in a flood plain and the road leading to the project is situated in a flash flood area. The project was proposed 10 years ago as a very small, low-tech facility for Arizona waste only. In 1981 a draft Environmental Impact Statement was prepared. That draft document had no mention of incineration. In 1983 the US EPA did an EIS and that document discussed one incinerator for Arizona waste only. Without any source reduction program Arizona is estimated to generate less than 1,700 tons of so called ‘incinerable wastes’. Bradley Angel of Greenpeace visited the site in the last two weeks and saw two rotary kilns on the ground, and a nearly finished lined landfill. The project construction began without any public hearing or without any permits issued. According to Bradley the Project manager for the DEQ has been quoted as saying: ‘We expect the facility will be on line before October.’ ENSCO has proposed to give the State $150,000 plus 2% of their revenues from this project each year. Melody Baker of MOM CARES said she had been trying to get the media interested in this project since February 1988, without success. She said Greenpeace focused the media's attention with the State Capital action

US EPA VIDEO SHOWN TO DEQ OFFICIALS. In preparation for the public hearing in Mobile Nancy Wrona, a DEQ representative, showed a US EPA video of a public hearing held in December 1989 in Cammalia, CA, to officials in Arizona. At the Cammalia public hearing irate and angry residents had opposed the expansion of a toxic waste dump. The residents at that public hearing dissembled chairs and piled them in the middle of the room, there were yells and whistles. There were no arrests.

THE TREATMENT OF THE ARRESTED: There were three Greenpeace members at the hearing in Mobile: Bradley Angel, San Francisco office, and Susan Miller and Brian Nicholas of the San Diego office - all of them were arrested. Both Bradley and Susan was attacked with police stun guns several times. Bradley and Susan were charged with a felony count of resisting arrest. According to Susan: “There was no way I could resist, my body was rendered useless by the stun gun. I did nothing to be arrested for.” According to Susan the police “said they stunned us for our own protection. They also said they used the stun gun on four people. We know of seven people who have marks on their body from stun gun attacks.” Susan said the stun gun attacks “immobilized me, it affects your brain - its shocks your brain. We were zapped while we were standing. Bradley and I fell down to the ground together [because of the effect on them from the stun guns] and were continually shocked while down on the ground.” Susan said she has several marks on her body, like burn marks, and it was difficult to focus after the attack. People were absolutely appalled. Some of the people who questioned police as to where they were taking those arrested were arrested themselves. Melody Baker, who was not allowed into the hearing until 10:15 pm witnessed the treatment of Bradley Angel after he was arrested and taken outside. Melody saw the police handcuff Bradley, push him down, kick and hit him near the police van. She said Bradley did nothing to provoke this brutal police attack. After their arrest the police took the 14 arrested about a l/2 mile from the school and left them in a locked paddy wagon, handcuffed, for approx 3 1/2 hours. There were three different cages in the paddy wagon, men and women in segregated cages. They were then taken to an airplane site about 20 minutes from the school where they saw more canine police units and a SWAT team. The 14 were booked there. Throughout the whole process the 14 were denied access to the telephone, nor allowed to go to the bathroom. After six hours they were given water. Four other arrested people were brought to the paddy wagon. The 18 arrested were then driven to a jail in Mesa, where 7 people charged with misdemeanors were released, and the 11 charged with felonies were taken by paddy wagon to a Phoenix jail, arriving at 3am. The felony charges were for ‘resisting arrest.’ At the Phoenix jail the eleven were allowed to make a telephone call. They were released the next afternoon at 2 pm.

For more information contact: Toxics Waste Investigative Group, Phoenix - 602-272-6997; Arizona Coalition for the Environment - 602-634-9474 or Melody Baker, MOM CARES, (Mothers of Maryvale Concerned About Real Environmental Safety), 1861 N. 63rd, Phoenix, AZ 85035. Tel: 602-247-1326.

WASTE NOT #101 A publication of Work on Waste USA, published 48 times a year, annual rates are: Individual & Non-Profits $35; Students & Seniors $25; Consultants & For-Profits $100; Canadian Subscriptions $US40. Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.