A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton,
NY 13617 315-379-9200 February 1990
EAST LIVERPOOL, OHIO: Part 3
Cover-Up underway at US EPA Region 5 in effort to protect WTIs
a federal EPA regulation was promulgated that stated any permit
a hazardous waste facility had to include both the OPERATOR
facility and the OWNER of the property on the permit.
See Federal Register, May 19, 1980, Vol. 45, No. 98, page
Valdas Adamkus, Regional Administrator of US EPA Region V, issued
a permit to Waste Technologies Industries (WTI)
to build and operate one of Americas largest hazardous waste
within 1100 feet of an elementary school. WTI will be
the operator of the facility
while the Columbiana County Port Authority is the owner of the
Only the operator, WTI, was listed on the permit.
Ref: Permit issued to WTI on June 24, 1983, signed by
Valdas V. Adamkus.
Valdas Adamkus, Head of US EPA Region V explains
WTIs illegal permit
in a 12-2-91 letter to U.S. Senator John D. Rockefeller IV:
...It is true that the property upon which the Facility
sits is owned by the Columbiana County Port Authority. It is
also true that the Agency was aware of that fact at the time the
permit was issued, and that the permit was issued solely to WTI.
In 1983 the Agency did not make the distinction between property
owners and facility owners. WTI owns the facility; it does not
own the property. Since 1983, the Agency has changed its policy.
It now issues permits to property owners and the facility operators
as co-permittees. To correct this problem the Agency will be
using the Class I modification procedures to issue the permit
to the Columbiana County Port Authority as a co-permittee. It
is within the Agencys discretion to make this change; it
is not required to do so...
US EPA Region V lawyer contradicts Valdas Adamkus with a
novel explanation of why WTIs illegal permit is valid.
In a 2-24-92 interview with Waste Not, Nancy-Ellen Zusman,
Assistant Regional Counsel at US EPA Region V stated the reason
the 1980 regulation was not implemented was because there was
a lot of confusion in the EPA, nationwide, in the 1980s,
and that the permit forms used by US EPA Region V were not updated
until 1990. The permit forms in question differ
in one instance only. In 1983 the permit form had one line
for the Permittee, whereas in 1992, the permit form
has two lines for the Permittee. The confusion
on the specific Owner/Operator 1980 regulation existed
for 10 years at US EPA Region V, according to Zusman. What Zusman
told Waste Not is in contradiction to what Valdas Adamkus
wrote to Senator Rockefeller IV on 12-2-91, which was: Since
1983, the Agency has changed its policy. But, according
to Zusman the policy wasnt changed until 1990.
The bottom line of Zusmans comments to us was that the the
1983 permit issued to WTI was technically and legally valid
because: (1) there was a lot of confusion at EPA
and (2) because US EPA Region V permit forms were not
changed until 1990.
Questions raised so far:
1. Can US EPA Region V legally extricate itself from having
issued an illegal permit to WTI in 1983 on the grounds
that confusion existed at the EPA in the 1980s
which led to the use of outdated permit forms for 10 years? (How
many other illegal permits were issued by Region V during the
2. Why did Valdas Adamkus lie to U.S. Senator Rockefeller
IV that his Agency changed its policy on the
specific Owner/Operation 1980 regulation for permits [s]ince
1983, when his Assistant Regional Counsel, Zusman, told
Waste Not that the changes to the 1980 regulation did not
come into effect until 1990, the magic date that US EPA Region
5 made the appropriate change to their permit form.
3. What obligations does Valdas Adamkus, as Regional Administrator
of US EPA Region V, have to insure that Federal regulations are
In 1981 did the Port Authority of Columbiana County know what
it was getting into when it leased the land to WTI?
Under Federal law both the operator of a hazardous waste facility
and the owner of the land on which is is built may be held responsible
in the event of accidents or contamination. Was the Columbiana
County Port Authority aware of these liabilities when they leased
the land to WTI? Probably not, because the lease they
signed with WTI appeared to release them from any liability.
On page 5 of the 6-1-81 Lease Agreement between the Port
Authority and WTI Liability is defined: Lessee
[WTI] shall indemnify and save harmless Lessors [Port Authority],
its officers and members of its Board from any and all liability
of any nature whatsoever as a result of Lessees construction,
maintenance, use or tenancy of the Premises. During the term of
the Lease, Lessee shall, at its sole expense, maintain general
public liability insurance for the benefit and protection of both
Lessor and Lessee in an amount not less than Two Hundred Fifty
Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00) for injuries to any one person
and not less than One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00) for injuries
to more than one person arising out of any one accident or occurrence,
and for damages to property in an amount not less than Five Hundred
Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00).
In 1992 the US EPA Region V illegally added the Port Authority
to WTIs permit without the Port Authoritys request
When the Port Authority found out that they were going to be added
as a co-permittee with WTI for one of the largest hazardous
waste incinerators in the U.S. they tried to keep their name off
the permit. In a 1-30-92 letter to US EPA Region V Attorney
Zusman, from the Attorney for the Port Authority, J. Michael Kapp
wrote: ...In response to your letter, dated December 20,
1991, concerning the proposed modification of the present U.S.
EPA - WTI permit wherein the U.S. EPA proposes to now re-issue
the permit to the Columbiana County Port Authority as Co-Permittee...It
is the reasonable position of the Port Authority that, if at the
time of the original application, the U.S. EPA believed that the
Port Authority should have been named as a Co-Permittee or could
have been named as a Co-Permittee, under law, such request to
the Port Authority would have been then and there made. Waiting
almost a decade is simply too long to now suggest to the Port
that it should be named as Co-Permittee. The Port trusts that
you will closely review these comments in light of the U.S. EPAs
past history in this matter and will conclude along with the Port
that such December 20, 1991, suggestion is not fair, right or
warranted, both in fact and law. On 2-3-92 the US
EPA Region V added the Port Authority to WTIs permit as
a co-permittee. 2-24-92: Port Authority does not
want to be a co-permittee - agrees to petition US EPA.
A Port Authority Board Meeting approved a resolution to petition
US EPA to review the condition of the permit decision that
added the Port Authority as a co-permittee.
For more information: Terri Swearingen 304-387-0574;
Connie Stein 304-232-4083; Alonzo Spencer 216-385-4584; David
Deakyne 412-573-4845; or the Tri-State Env.Council, PO Box 76,
Chester WV 26034.
WASTE NOT # 184 A publication of Work on Waste USA,
published 48 times a year. Annual rates are: Groups & Non-Profits
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$US45; Overseas $65. Editors: Ellen &
Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200.