A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 November 1992

WTI’s Hazardous Waste Incinerator
in East Liverpool, Ohio.

“Richard P. Brudzynski, the Ohio EPA hearing officer who first reviewed the company’s proposal, said the state hazardous-waste permit was only awarded because he and other EPA officials didn’t have the expertise to properly evaluate it.”
Dayton Daily News, Ohio, 8-9-92.

A Brief Chronology.

January 1980: Stephens Inc., of Little Rock, Arkansas, formed WTI to build and operate regional hazardous waste incinerators. According to a 3-22-92 report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Records and Stephens officials say the company has been -but is no longer -financially connected to the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, a politically influential international banking firm that has pleaded guilty to racketeering, criminal fraud and conspiracy. Don Brown, a Stephens official and former East Liverpool resident, contacted city leaders in January 1980 and said the company wanted to build a waste-to-energy plant...” According to a 5-8-92 report in the New York Times: “The investor who started the project in 1980 was Jackson T. Stephens, chairman of Stephens Inc., one of the nation’s largest investment banking companies, in Little Rock, Ark. Mr. Stephens has raised $100,000 for the Clinton Presidential campaign and has extended $2 million in credit to the campaign through a bank partly owned by his family. He also contributed $100,000 to the Republican Party and he and his wife were hosts to the Inaugural party for President Bush in 1989...”

5-19-80: EPA regulations (45 F.R. 33066) state that permits for hazardous waste facilities must be signed by both the owner of the land and the operator of the facility. See Federal Register, 5-19-80, Vol. 45, No. 98, page 33169.

May 1981: WTI signs a lease with the Columbiana Port Authority. EPA’s Hugh Kaufman noted that the lease with WTI was signed before the Port Authority even bought the land. The land was taken by the right of eminent domain for the public purpose of developing a port area and paid for by Ohio taxpayers.

6-24-83: The original permit for the WTI incinerator was illegally issued by US EPA Region 5 Administrator Valdus Adamkus. The owner of the land (the Port Authority) did not sign the application, as required by the 5-19-80 EPA regulation. At a 5-7-92 Congressional House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing, US EPA Region V officials admitted, for the first time, that the agency violated the law when it issued the permit in 1983. The admission came from US EPA Region V William Muno and Gail Ginsburg.

8-21-90: Swiss-based Von Roll buys out three of WTI’s 4 partners who received the US EPA Region V permit on 6-24- 83. Von Roll, in violation of the permit, does not notify US EPA Region V of these changes.

10-4-90: According to a Von Roll press release, Von Roll announces they have arranged $128 million in financing for the WTI incinerator through B.C.C.I.-connected-Union Bank of Switzerland and J.P. Morgan.

2-3-92: The U.S. EPA Region V illegally added the Port Authority to WTI’s permit as a co-permittee, without the request or consent of the Port Authority. At the 5-7-92 Congressional Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on WTI, U.S. EPA Region V officials admitted to the fact that they had illegally added the Port Authority’s name.

5-21-92: Letter to Vice President Danforth Quayle from D.J.Blake Marshall, President of Von Roll, Inc.:

“Dear Mr. Quayle, Von Roll America, a subsidiary of Swiss-based Von Roll A.G., is engaged in an intensely pitched battle to open a $140 million hazardous waste incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio. I believe our story -- an incredible one, to say the least -- underscores the need for the same measures you have taken to balance the nation’s regulatory process and put America back to work...We are $15 million over budget, technically in default with our bankers and the future of our 100 highly trained employees is uncertain. Also uncertain is the waste treatment opportunities for our three primary customers -- Du Pont, BASF and Chemical Waste Management -- each of which pre-purchased the plant’s capacity for the next ten years. More than 60 companies, employing some 90,000 workers, will feed the plant via Chem Waste...The valid [sic] permits we once had are now invalid...the majority [sic] of the residents support the plant. I believe we have earned the respect of regulators, Governor George Voinovich, the local and state Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Manufacturing Association...Mr. Quayle, over the last several months you have spoken up for companies like mine. To move forward we must have a 180 day temporary authorization permit from the U.S. EPA, which can be granted while the EPA reviews the appeals. I believe we need your help and ask that you consider whether there is anything you can do to assist Von Roll. To not be allowed to move forward would signal to industry everywhere that the barriers to entry are formidable and that any initiative to build better and safer can be a death sentence.”

6-10-92: WTI’s proponents meet with Vice President Quayle’s Competiveness Council.

7-7-92: EPA Region V officially requests ownership information from WTI. “Information available to the U.S. EPA indicates that the Facility ownership and operational control may have changed, and that it is unclear who is responsible for day to day operations at the Facility, who is responsible for the financial assurance and other regulations (liability insurance, etc.) required under 40 CFR Part 264, and who has authority to sign on behalf of the Facility and bind the Facility.” Letter from US EPA Region 5 Norman Niedergang to D.J. Blake Marshall, president of Von Roll, Inc., Norcross, GA; Thomas Jackson of Jacobs, Persinger & Parker, New York City; and Charles Waterman III of Bricker & Eckler, Columbus, Ohio.

7-9-92: US EPA Region V issues 180-day temporary authorization permit.

7-20-92: Incinerator opponents travel to Washington, D.C., for a scheduled meeting with top EPA officials regarding the illegalities in WTI’s permit. The opponents had informed EPA, prior to the meeting, that they wanted answers to their questions and requested that EPA make documents available to support their answers. Because they did not receive what they had asked for, they refused to leave EPA’s offices. At 6 pm EPA’s Lew Crampton had twelve citizens arrested by the Federal Protective Services. They were charged with unlawful entry. At the Washington, DC, U.S. EPA offices, the 12 were frisked and cuffed with their hands behind their back. One of the arrested, Chuck Smith, now has permanent nerve damage in his hand as a result of being cuffed too tightly. At 6:30 pm the arrested were transported to the First District Jail, where they were frisked a second time. Most were denied the opportunity to speak to their attorney, who came to the jail. None of the arrested were given the option to make a phone call. At 12.30 a.m. they were transported to the Central Holding Cell, D.C.’s downtown inner-city jail. There they were searched, weighed and fingerprinted. Though bonds were posted at 12:45 a.m., it wasn’t until 4:30 am that most of the arrested were released. Terri Swearingen was the last to be released. Lew Crampton, who had the 12 arrested, took a job with Waste Management Inc. in October - see below.

7-20-92: A hunger strike begins in East Liverpool to protest the WTI incinerator. 25 people fasted for 3 weeks.

8-11-92: “In a public meeting at which the public was barred from asking questions, the Columbiana County Port Authority voted to sell land it leases to one of the nation’s largest hazardous-waste incinerators for $5 million. Police were called to calm the raucous meeting Monday night...Sam Kusic, an incinerator opponent, said he had pulled together a group of investors from five states to bid for the incinerator land. He said he presented board members with a letter of intent that was ignored...[Carl Pelini, port board vice chairman] said the port’s legal counsel, Michael Kapp, told the board it could sell the land without bids...The state bought the incinerator site and 23 other acres for the port authority in the early 1980s for $4 million. The land was taken by eminent domain because it was to be used for a ‘public purpose’...Alonzo Spencer, an opposition leader, said the port’s board acted out of desperation to keep the plant’s permit valid. ‘With an invalid permit, the facility cannot operate’...” The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, 8-12-92.

10-2-92: The U.S. EPA “secretly decided this summer to modify a permit for a hazardous waste incinerator in East Liverpool, O., to correct unauthorized changes in ownership and operations that were made by the plant’s owners...A July 21 internal memo -with the July crossed out and August written in- shows that the EPA decided to approve the operational changes requested by the company within a month after receiving information the agency sought from the plant. The memo, which was not supposed to be released, was obtained by The Plain Dealer...[According to Alonzo Spencer of East Liverpool] ‘The EPA (officials) looked us in the eye two weeks ago and said they had not drawn any conclusions, yet the memo is evidence they did’...The memo, written by EPA Region V assistant legal counsel Nancy-Ellen Zusman, details a list of 16 activities and a timetable regarding the plant that were discussed at a briefing of the region’s EPA administrator, Valdus V. Adamkus...Sen Howard Metzenbaum, D-O., yesterday said he was disgusted by the memo...‘Every person involved in this undertaking should be called on to resign from government,’ Metzenbaum said. ‘This was never intended to be brought to the attention of the public. The fix was in. It was intended to provide a scenario on how to disregard the public interest and accomplish the objectives of WTI.’ Zusman said yesterday that the document should not have been released. She called the memo a ‘proposal,’ despite language that says the document will ‘memorialize the schedule of items’ to be accomplished...” Cleveland Plain Dealer,10-2-92

10-13-92: Lew Crampton resigned his job as Associate Administrator of the EPA’s public affairs office and is now a senior vice president of communications and government relations at WASTE MANAGEMENT INC. “In July, EPA Administrator William K. Reilly had appointed Crampton to act as a liaison after several opponents of the Waste Technologies Industries incinerator staged a sit-in in Reilly’s office in Washington, DC. Crampton toured the incinerator and East Liverpool July 16 and met with opposition leaders and other residents, telling them that he was a ‘peoples advocate.’ He also took information gathered by opponents on Waste Management’s interest in the plant. That same day, Crampton said he was interviewing for a job in the waste industry. He declined to say if the company was Waste Management, said Terri Swearingen of the Tri-State Environmental Council...Waste Management and its subsidiaries are linked to the incinerator. A Waste Management subsidiary, Chemical Waste Management, signed agreements to buy WTI at one time. It also had a contract to supply the plant with about 70% of the waste it will burn. Chemical Waste, which says it has no financial investment in the plant, also will haul away the residues and will supply the landfills to bury the residue. Rust Engineering, owned by a subsidiary of Waste Management, built the plant...The company that owns Rust -Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. - is the licensee of the technology used by the East Liverpool plant’s owners...” Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10-13-92.

WASTE NOT # 216. A publication of Work on Waste USA, published 48 times a year. Annual rates are: Groups & Non-Profits $50; Students & Seniors $35; Individual $40; Consultants & For-Profits $125; Canadian $US45; Overseas $65. Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.