A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 January 23, 1993
According to the Indianapolis Star of 1-13-93, Ogden Martin Systems of Indianapolis Inc., owner-operator of the citys incinerator, has agreed to pay a fine of $350,000 for violating air pollution limits at the Southside facility. A negotiated consent decree will be filed today with Marion Municipal Court Judge Taylor L. Baker. The fine is believed to be one of the largest air permit fines collected by the state. The decree, negotiated between the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the city of Indianapolis, the Hoosier Environmental Council and Ogden Martin, also mandates: *A comprehensive plan to ensure proper operation and maintenance of the facility. *A review of scrubber operations to determine if preventive measures can avoid further sulfur dioxide violations. *Testing of a new particulate detection device to see if it will help Ogden Martin improve maintenance. *Annual tests to measure particulates coming from the stacks on the three incinerator units at the plant...The [States] environmental management department will receive $325,000 from Ogden Martins fine, and the city will receive $25,000. *** According to an interview with Jeff Stant, the executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) the $350,000 that Ogden Martin was fined were for violations that were a mere fraction of the 6,000 violations the U.S. EPA documented. According to Jeff this fine will close the door on past offenses at Ogden Martins poorly run incinerator. In 1991 Ogden had stated they would not pay more than $25,000 in fines. Ogden wants the preventative maintenance agreement, being negotiated between them and the State of Indiana, to be kept secret. HEC, acting as an independent party in the consent negotiations, proved to be a vigorous watchdog in this process. HEC was involved in the negotiations that lasted over one year. Their involvement rescued this process. Without HECs involvement the public interest would have been severely diminished. Officials in the City of Indianapolis, acting mostly like a P.R. satellite of Ogden Martin, were loathe to pursue penalities higher than $25,000. The State of Indiana, having granted Ogden its permit, did little to nothing over the years of the violations, to protect the public from Ogdens permit violations. The State wanted to settle the suit quickly. Ogden, with the assistance of a their prestigious Indiana-based attorneys, tried to wheedle out of responsibility for its flagrant abuse of permitted emissions. HEC kept everyone on track. For a copy of the consent decree contact: Jeff Stant or Charlene Griffin at HEC, 1002 E. Washington, Indianapolis, IN. Tel: 317-685-8800. Fax: 317-686-4794.
AN APPEAL TO WASTE NOT READERS FROM THE GOOD PEOPLE OF NOVA SCOTIA. The citizens who have brought this suit are serious and well informed on both the dangers and alternatives to incineration. Their legal suit is a challenge to us all. If the editors of Waste Not were lawyers, this is the legal challenge we would have developed. Whatever the politically expedient reasons given for the defeat of incinerators across the country, there is only one unifying reason for their defeat: Citizens refuse to allow the crude technology of incineration to adversely impact their health, environment, local economy, or to take away their local democracy. In the course of the battles raging in communities, citizens are united by the similiarity of experiences in dealing with corrupted political and regulatory systems. Citizens who have fought and are fighting these battles, whether they live in Russia, Holland, Germany, Spain, England, Puerto Rico, or in these United States, share a unique common bond: we are witnesses of shameless public servants and elected officials who have abdicated their responsibilities to protect the public. David Wimberly of Nova Scotia is asking for help from Waste Not readers. We urge any of our readers involved with Ogden Martin schemes to contact David Wimberly. Anyone who has battled Ogden Martin knows what they are up against. For those who dont, well put it this way: When Ogden Martin sets out to fulfill its schemes in a community, the citizens begin to feel like they have a giant and immovable bear trap in their childs bedroom. If any of our readers can help these brave and persistent Nova Scotians with substantive information, please do.
BACKGROUND TO THE NOVA SCOTIA COURT SUIT: As reported in Waste Not #214 the City of Halifax requested the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, in October 1992, for a ruling on whether or not they could legally withdraw from a proposed Ogden Martin incinerator scheme, a scheme that had been orchestrated by the incineator-biased Metropolitan trash authority, which represents 3 other municiplaities aside from Halifax. The Court ruled against the City of Halifax in November 1992. At that juncture, the city gave up the fight by refusing to appeal the Supreme Court decision. Because of the citys refusal to appeal, the citizens launched a unique and bold legal challenge to stop the incinerator. On January 26 they filed a suit against the Trash Authority, and the 4 municipalities they represent (the cities of Halifax and Dartmouth, the town of Bedford, and the Municipality of the County of Halifax) with a Canadian Constitutional legal challenge to incineration. The Plaintiff bringing this suit is the Coalition of Citizens for a Charter Challenge, constituted for the purpose inter alia of giving expression to its members opposition to any further use within Nova Scotia of municipal waste incineration, and in particular to a proposed incinerator in the area of Metropolitan Halifax. The Plaintiffs members include residents of Metro and other parts of Nova Scotia, ratepayers of each of the four municipalities comprising Metro, persons whose health or age would render them peculiarly sensitive to airborne pollutants and irritants generated by incineration, and other persons and groups with a direct interest in the safety and ecological health of the natural environment of Nova Scotia....the Plaintiff pleads that to the extent that any public body purports to authorize incineration of municipal solid waste to any significant degree, that governmental action has the effect of exposing human beings within a reasonable distance from the incinerator and its disposal sites to increased health risks, which deprives them of their right to life, liberty and the security of their persons, as guaranteed by Section 7 of the Charter [the Charter means the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.]...The Plaintiff pleads that incineration of municipal solid waste is a practice that cannot be conducted without significant risk to the health of human beings and damage to the natural environment in which humans live....The Plaintiff further pleads that the diversion of hazardous, reusable, recyclable and compostable materials to an incinerator, and the disincentives toward waste reduction, reuse and recycling caused by incinerator-based management promote a waste management technology that is not sustainable. The Plaintiff pleads that the promotion of a non-sustainable and polluting waste management system will degrade the environment and quality of life of present and future generations. This systemic degradation of quality of life is a deprivation of life, liberty and security of the person as guaranteed by Section 7 of the Charter. Moreover, to the extent that aged persons, the very young and those disabled by respiratory and immunological diseases would be placed under a greater risk of being harmed or limited in their activity by the presence of airborne pollutants and irritants, or by the presence of toxic landfill in proximity to their place of residence, the governmental action in pursuing incineration is discriminatory and infringes their rights to the equal protection and benefit of the law as guaranteed by Section 15 of the Charter... The suit then goes into detail on the manipulations of the trash authority and its consultants to secure an incinerator for the Halifax area.
Contact: David Wimberly
The Its Not Garbage Coalition,
15 Schooner Cove Road, Head of St. Margarets Bay,
Nova Scotia BOJ 3JO, Canada. Tel: 902-826-7846. Fax: 902-826-1369.