A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 June 1993
The title of this newsletter is a parody of Samuel Becketts 1952 play, Waiting for Godot. This play is about two lovable bums [who] wait endlessly and passively for something to happen, while a strange couple, master and slave (or body and mind), wander by, locked in a death struggle. Beckett won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1969. Ref: Colliers Encyclopedia, Volume 3, 1972.
Becketts play is the best example we can offer to illustrate the response of environmentalist Vice President Al Gore and Jackson Stephens protege, President Bill Clinton, in dealing with Von Rolls hazardous waste incinerator, known as Waste Technologies Industries (WTI). (Arkansas billionaire Jackson Stephens is [t]he investor who started the [East Liverpool, Ohio, incinerator] project in 1980.1 Jackson Stephens also owns 31% of the Energy Answers SEMASS 1800 tpd municipal waste incinerator in Rochester, Massachusetts, built and operated by Bechtel, which went on line in October 1988. Jackson Stephens has been a major financier of Bill Clintons political life.2 While Bert Lance is credited with bringing BCCI -- commonly known as the Bank of Crooks and Criminals-- into the U.S., it was, in fact, Jackson Stephens who introduced Bert Lance to BCCIs founder, Agha Hasan Abedi. Lance and Stephens are reported to have made a fortune as a result of their involvement with BCCI.3) The Wall Street Journal appears to have succeeded in emasculating Gores environmental fervor. Carol Browner, Gores reportedly hand-picked EPA director, has publicly stated she is in favor of municipal waste incinerators4 in contrast to Al Gores repudiation of incineration in his book Earth in the Balance (1992, pgs 156-157, see also Waste Not # 206). On May 18 Browner announced an 18-month moratorium on the permitting of hazardous waste incinerators. This moratorium excludes the East Liverpool, Ohio, incinerator, and excludes the burning of millions of tons of hazardous wastes in cement and aggregate kilns each year. Clintons environmental record while Governor of Arkansas was such a complete disgrace that no expectations have been dashed. But Gore has let us all down. He failed to keep the promise he made on December 7, 1992, when he stated that Von Rolls incinerator in East Liverpool would not receive an EPA permit until all questions concerning the illegalities of EPA Region 5s permitting process, and the safety and health concerns were answered (see Waste Not #222). In our last report (Waste Not #231) on Von Rolls incinerator we highlighted the March 5th decision, by Judge Ann Aldrich, that stated Von Roll could perform an 8-day trial burn, but would then have to shut down, for up to one year, to allow time for the Federal EPA to prepare a health risk assessment, based on the test burn results, on the risks of the uptake of dioxin in the food chain. Aldrich stated in her decision that operation of the WTI facility during the post trial burn period may cause \imminent and substantial endangerment to health and the environment.
Von Roll appealed Judge Aldrichs decision on March 8 and was successful in obtaining an emergency stay of the decision which allowed them to continue burning after the test burn was completed. On June 25 a hearing was held by three 6th Circuit Court judges to decide whether Judge Aldrichs decision should be upheld --their ruling has yet to be made. If justice prevails, the incinerator will be shut down immediately. Meanwhile, even after the March test burn results showed the incinerator in violation of its EPA permits for mercury emissions and for destruction removal efficiency, the EPA and the Ohio EPA both expedited the permits for Von Roll to burn. In June, the dioxin test burn results became available which showed that excessive dioxin emissions were recorded during the test burn! The Federal EPA has the legal authority to shut down any incinerator if it is deemed a public health threat. Responsible scientists are urging the EPA to follow their mandate and close the incinerator, but at this point in history, the Clinton-Gore-Browner team seem to have been transfused into the characters in Samuel Becketts play.
1. EXCESSIVE DIOXIN EMISSIONS.
Range: 2 to 4 1/2 times EPAs levels for new permits.
...The dioxin levels measured during WTIs trial burn are considerably higher than those projected at the time of the Phase 1 risk assessment and screening exercise. U.S. EPA is concerned about these dioxin levels and believes that WTI should take immediate steps to reduce dioxin emissions...
June 16, 1993: Letter from EPA Region 5 Administrator, Valdas Adamkus, to D.J. Blake Marshall, President, Von Roll (Ohio), Inc.
...The levels of dioxin measured during the [WTI] trial burn ranged from 56 to 143 nanograms per dry standard cubic meter. [EPA recommends 30 ng/dscm dioxin emission level for new permits.] EPA is evaluating the contribution dioxin levels may have to the potential risks from WTIs operations. A comprehensive risk assessment, which will be completed early next year, will consider all the emissions from the facility, along with data on expected toxicity and possible levels of exposure...
2. EXCESSIVE MERCURY EMISSIONS.
Four times more mercury than permitted was emitted.
No more than seven pounds of mercury was supposed to come out of the smokestack during tests on March 10 and March 11 at the Waste Technologies Industries incinerator, but 29 pounds was measured, officials said. Jennifer Nichols, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, said yesterday that officials now assume the plant is unable to destroy [sic: capture] mercury. Therefore, Waste Technologies will be allowed to feed no more than 3.5 pounds of mercury into the incinerator every day, which is the maximum allowable emissions amount... The Plain Dealer, Ohio, May 7, 1993.
3. FAILED PERMIT CONDITION for Destruction Removal Efficiency (DRE).
...The plant also failed another part of its required test burn. It failed to achieve a 99.99% destruction for carbon tetrachloride at low temperatures in one of three incineration tests conducted for that chemical... The Plain Dealer, May 7, 1993.
June 7, 1993: Letter from Paul Anderson of the Ohio EPA to Alonzo Spencer of East Liverpool, Ohio: ...The Ohio EPA is currently working with the U.S. EPA to develop the phase 2 risk assessment for the WTI facility. One of the questions which will be investigated through this process is whether the maximum allowable emission rate for mercury of 3200 grams per day, is protective of human health and the environment. U.S. EPA expects this study to be completed by January of 1994...I have also received your letter dated May 25, 1993 in which you request copies of waste profile data for the WTI facility. Please be aware that WTI has requested confidentiality for this information under the trade secret provision found in Rule 3745-50-30 of the Ohio Administrative Code...
Working Assets Long Distance encourages its subscribers to call EPA Director Carol Browner at 202-260-4700 to shut down WTI!
Working Assets (our telephone company), in their June billing, ran this message: DONT BURN TOXICS IN KIDS BACK YARDS. WTIS Ohio incinerator will emit lead and dioxin fumes just 1,100 feet from a school. Al Gore pledged to shut it down but hasnt; the EPA says the plant is a fait accompli. CALL EPA CHIEF CAROL BROWNER AT 202-260-4700. Urge her to close all incinerators that violate EPA rules, including WTI. If you want to switch to Working Assets call 1-800-788-8588 and tell them that Ellen Connett (tel # 315-379-9200) recommended you and we will receive $10 towards our phone bill for each new subscriber they receive! Working Assets offers: phone bills printed on unbleached 100% post-consumer recycled paper; 20% off calls to other members of the Working Assets network; etc.
1 New York Times, May 8, 1992, 2 Admit E.P.A. Violated Hazardous Waste Law in Issuing Permit, by K. Schneider, pg A-15.
2,3 New York Post, Feb. 7, 1992, Bill Clinton Bankers BCCI Link, by Mike McAlary. -For copy of article, send us a SASE.
4 Chemical & Engineering News, March 1, 1993, EPAs Browner To Take Holistic Approach to Environmental Protection.