A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 May 24, 1990


PRO-INCINERATOR PROVISIONS IN SENATE CLEAN AIR ACT. Due to the urgency of the proposed changes to the Clean Air Act, which “read like a wish list of your neighborhood incinerator company”, Clean Water Action, Greenpeace, National Toxics Campaign, US PIRG, and the Institute for Local Self Reliance, are coordinating lobbying efforts against the pro-incinerator provisions to the Clean Air Act. According to Clean Water Action, “Unless we stop them, these provisions will torpedo the efforts of grass roots groups and communities across the country who are choosing source reduction and recycling over dangerous incineration. Specifically, the Senate bill:
• “classifies ash as a special waste thereby opening the door for the creation of hundreds of new toxic ash
• gives 30 year permits which will lock us into dirty incinerators well into the 21st century and preclude source reduction and recycling;
• sets weak standards for air emissions from incinerators thus allowing hundreds of millions of pounds of mercury, dioxin, lead, and other toxic pollutants to poison our air and water;
• sets token 25 percent recycling standards which can easily be waived by EPA and the states.”
Clean Water Action is urging that individuals and groups immediately contact their members of Congress and demand that they strike the incinerator sections ((No. 306 and 307) from the Senate Clean Air Act. The groups are urging individuals and groups to make a special effort to get to Washington, DC, for the lobbying days. They are prepared to help groups find accommodation, and even a gasoline allowance. For further information contact Ken Brown or Bob Collins at Clean Water Action, tel: 202-546-6616, or Susan Birmingham at US PIRG, tel: 202-546-9707.

Greenpeace call for action on

“EPA released their long-awaited, proposed regulations for hazardous waste incinerators on April 27. Contrary to usual practice with important regulations, EPA has not scheduled any public hearings. In other words, EPA has given you no opportunity to voice your opinion on these incinerator regulations...The regulations give the illusion that toxic emissions are being regulated. However, for an average-sized incinerator, the general effects of the proposed regulations include:
••• Air Emissions of heavy metals can range as high as 49,000 to 104,000,000 pounds per year, depending on the height of the smokestack;
••• Air emissions of organic chemicals -- unburned wastes and products of incomplete combustion -- can be as much as 65,000 pounds per year;
••• Even these inadequate limits can be exceeded if incinerator operators submit a risk assessment which argues that fewer than 2 in 100,000 people will die of cancer from excessive emissions;
••• No limits are placed on any specific organic emissions, including the most dangerous combustion products, such as dioxins, furans, PCBs, and many other persistent, bioaccumulative chemicals commonly emitted by hazardous waste incinerators;
••• Equipment, operations, and wastes burned are unlikely to change substantially from present practice.
“Hazardous waste incinerators will be as easy to site as ever...EPA estimates that complying with the regulations will cost the entire U.S. incinerator industry only $6 million per year...The public comment period lasts only a few weeks (until June 26)...” Greenpeace Action is urging that individuals and groups send letters to EPA identifying your group and insisting that EPA hold hearings near you on the proposed incinerator regulations, with copies to your Congressional representative and Governors...” from Scott Sederstrom, Greenpeace Northeast Toxics Campaigner, June 1, 1990.

Greenpeace urges you write to send copy of letter to the docket. For more Greenpeace information
William Reilly RCRA Docket F-90-BWIP-FFFF Joe Thornton, Greenpeace
U.S. EPA U.S. EPA 1017 W. Jackson
401 M Street, SW 401 M Street, SW Chicago, IL 60607
Washington, DC 20460 Washington, DC 20460 Tel: 312-666-3305

By Dr. Barry Commoner, Pantheon Books, 1990, $19.95

There are several drawbacks with Dr. Commoner’s latest book.
1st: You won’t be able to put it down.
2nd: You won’t be able to take short notes because every page is filled with important information.
3rd: You will immediately want to buy it for all your friends, local officials, etc., and you may run out of money.
4th: If you are like this reviewer, your book will be filled with underlined sentences and exclamation points that will create a maze of codes for all the wonderful comments, facts, figures, and references that you will want to remember, such as on page 31:

“...About one-fourth of the polyvinyl chloride is used for packaging; discarded into the trash stream, it has turned the incinerators into dioxin factories...”

As America’s leading environmentalist, Dr. Commoner makes you realize that you aren’t alone in questioning the enormous implications of the absence of ethics and morals in present-day risk assessments. He follows the maze created from EPA’s 1985 risk assessment on dioxin, to the recommendations from the Office of Management and Budget that called for less conservative approaches to risk assessment. This resulted in the gambit that “reduced the 1985 estimate of cancer risk sixteenfold” for dioxin which just happened to coincide with a request from Syntex Agribusiness, Inc., in 1985 to reduce dioxin’s cancer risk. By reducing dioxin’s risk sixteenfold, as EPA proposes, the financial responsibility for Syntex’s cleanup in dioxin-contaminated Times Beach, Missouri, will be reduced by 2/3rds. Dr. Commoner articulates the environmental problems created since World War II to the U.S. Conference of Mayors and their subsidiary, “The National Resource Recovery Association, which promotes incinerators.” As the director of the prestigious Center for the Biology of Natural Systems, Dr. Commoner has remained constant in advocating pollution prevention while industry and federal regulatory agencies continue to perceive this message as nothing less than blasphemous. He is helping to document the role of federal and state regulatory agencies, which appears to have turned themselves against those they are empowered to protect. Dr. Commoner won’t let public officials feel comfortable with flimsy science and poor policy. As a biologist and environmentalist, Dr. Commoner is able to discuss the ethical and moral boobytraps that regulators are confronted with in designing criteria for risk assessment and policies to protect the public from toxic substances. For those concerned about the fate of pollutants and the tendency for regulatory agencies to substitute public relations for public protection, Dr. Commoner exposes the Orwellian doubletalk. By continuing to speak the truth, Dr. Commoner has retained an impassioned fidelity to scientific integrity as well as to the social, ethical and moral concerns that confront society at every level of environmental degradation. This book is a classic powerhouse for everyone battling incineration. (EC).

WASTE NOT #104 A publication of Work on Waste USA, published 48 times a year, annual rates are: Individual and 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.