A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 SEPTEMBER 1993

200 tpd Mass-Burn Incinerator, Owned and Operated by Wheelabrator.
at 1:30 a.m. on September 16th.

“The bankruptcy law that the project filed, under Chapter 9, is intended specifically for municipalities and political entities...

Chapter 9 was written by Congress shortly after New York City went bankrupt. Michael Kninen of White River Junction (VT) said that Chapter 9 allowed entities to reject contracts or leases...

George Vannah, clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manchester, said that there had never been a Chapter 9 filing by any New Hampshire town.”

Rutland Daily Herald, VT, September 17, 1993.

The 29 towns are part of the New Hampshire/Vermont Solid Waste Project. The towns have signed on to 20-year contracts to supply municipal waste to Wheelabrator’s Claremont incinerator, which went on line in 1987. As members of the Project, they are also responsible for the Project-owned ash landfill in Newport, N.H. For years the Project has suffered operating deficits due to lack of waste. According to John Tuthill of the local Working on Waste citizens group, the Project has been in ‘perpetual crisis’ due to the put-or-pay contracts the Project signed with Wheelabrator. The Project, by contract, must pay for 47,500 tons per year, yet can only bring in 40,000 tpy. Wheelabrator is in charge of attracting spot-market waste, and brings in about 30,000 tpy. The critical issue that provoked the bankruptcy filing was that Wheelabrator had told the Project they would be cut off from using the incinerator unless they pay claims for back payments of $830,000 in tipping fees at the incinerator. Project officials admits it owes that amount, but says that Wheelabrator is behind on its payments for disposal of ash at the project-owned landfill in Newport, and claims that Wheelabrator owes the project in excess of $2 million. Wheelabrator’s Vice-President Daniel Madigan said Wheelabrator’s contract with the district “calls for payments for shipping trash to the incinerator to be made independent of any other dealings between the two.” Project Executive Director, Allen Dusault “said failure to collect from Wheelabrator for ash dumping has contributed to the district’s debt to the company...‘The reason we did this is Wheelabrator would not hear our claims,’ he said. ‘They owed us money under the contract. They would not pay. They would not sit down to arbitration.” --The Union Leader, N.H., 9-17-93. According to an editorial in the Eagle Times: “To make up for the shortfall, the Project faced the options of raising the tipping fees -at $96.50 a ton...by $20, or having member towns pay it through property taxes. Neither was palatable to area residents and taxpayers....A better place for the case might be divorce court. Project-Wheelabrator relations are strained, perhaps beyond salvation...” 9-17-93.

The same day that bankruptcy was filed, the Vermont State Legislature opened hearings on an investigation into the incinerator project. “Inquiring minds on a legislative committee want to know the financial and legal details that led to the bankruptcy...Thursday, in the first of four hearings to be held, legislators asked what happened to $800,000 paid by member towns but not passed on to Wheelabrator. They wanted to know by what authority the Project’s joint committee obligated towns to long-term debt without voter approval. And they wanted to know who is ultimately responsible for $25 million in Project bonds and to whom the money is owned...State Auditor of Accounts Edward S. Flanagan told legislators he is conducting his own investigation of the Project and said he will provide them with a flow chart of how Project finances were raised and spent. Flanagan criticized the Project for fiscal mismanagement, including ‘uncontrolled legal costs.’ He said legal cost for a dispute with an engineering firm exceeded the settlement. ‘The Project has been plagued from inception with under-estimations of true costs,’ testified Robert Woodman, chairman of the Sullivan County Regional Refuse Disposal District and chairman of the Project’s executive committee...Rep. Robert Harris, D-Windsor, testified, ‘The Project has a closed-door mentality. It’s been mismanaged from the beginning.” Wheelabrator Vice-President Daniel P. Madigan “said the worst thing for the Project has been the recession, reducing available tonnage of trash to below the minimum limits of the contract.” Eagle Times, September 17, 1993.

Who’s responsible for the bonds? “The waste project has been paying off three bonds -the first one was issued in the name of Wheelabrator for $18.6 million - but it was a revenue bond, a distinction that could save the towns a lot of money, [Paul Ferber, who teaches bankruptcy law at Vermont Law School] said. The other two bond issues, both $2.5 million, were used to finance the construction of the project’s ash landfill. They were general obligation bonds, which are tied directly to the financial credit of the towns, Ferber noted. ‘The potential is there that the towns would have to turn around and face bond obligations,’ said Ferber, noting it depended on whether the creditor -Wheelabrator- wanted to play financial hardball. The impact of this could be very wide; there could be very, very deep ramifications for the towns,’ said Ferber.” -Rutland Daily Herald, VT, Sept. 17, 1993.

Police arrest two activists at the Project’s September meeting. While the 29-town member Project has had its disagreements with Wheelabrator over the years, they are minimal compared to the scrutiny the Project and Wheelabrator has faced for over 13 years from area residents. The incinerator opponents in Claremont are unique. Not only did they do everything they could to stop this incinerator from being built, they stayed with the issue as one of the most active watch-dog groups of any municipal incinerator in the United States. They have been exceptional. The investigation of the Claremont, N.H., incinerator now underway by the Vermont State Legislature is due to their hard work and efforts. Two members of the Claremont-area Working on Waste citizens group, Bill Gallagher of Cornish and John Tuthill of Acworth “were both arrested for refusing to leave the [Sept. 15] Project meeting after it had been closed to the public...Having objected to what they called the ‘illegality’ of a private meeting of the New Hampshire-Vermont Solid Waste Project, [they] now face charges of criminal trespass for their conscience...” -Eagle Times, September 16, 1993. According to John Tuthill the charges have been dropped to disorderly conduct. The Project has requested the State to drop all charges. The state has refused.

For more info. on the Claremont incinerator contact John Tuthill at 603-863-6366 or Katie Lajoie at 603-826-4803.


Cancer Incidence in a Population Accidentally
Exposed to 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin,
by Pier Alberto Bertazzi, Angela C. Pestori, Dario Consonni, Adriana Tironi, Maria Teresa Landi, and Carol Zocchetti.

Published in the journal Epidemiology, September 1993, Volume 4, Number 5, pgs 398-406. Available for $12 from: (Also request editorial from the same issue)

Williams & Wilkins, 428 E. Preston St, Baltimore, MD 21202. Tel: 1-800-354-9685. Fax 1-410-528-4312.

In July 1976 there was an explosion in an autoclave reactor at the Givaudan-owned ICMESA factory that manufactured trichlorophenol in Seveso, which is 30 miles north of Milan. Givaudan is owned by Swiss-based Hoffmann-La Roche. (Givaudan developed and patented hexachlorophene.) Two to three weeks after the explosion 726 people were evacuated from the most contaminated area. According to the Wall Street Journal, August 30, 1993: “Higher Cancer Rates Cited In Italian Dioxin Study. Leukemia, lymphoma and liver cancer are occuring at higher-than-normal rates in people exposed to a cloud of dioxin from a chemical-plant explosion in Italy 17 years ago, researchers have found. ‘We found a lot of cancer that was already known to be associated with dioxin,’ in laboratory studies and other research, said Dr. Adriana Tironi of the University of Milan, an author of a study covering the 10 years following the 1976 explosion in Seveso, Italy....The researchers determined the number of cancer cases in more than 36,000 people exposed to a form of dioxin known as TCDD. The researchers then compared that group with 180,000 people living nearby who weren’t exposed. Of the study group, the 4,824 people with moderate exposure to dioxin had 2.8 times the liver cancer risk of the unexposed population. The exposed group had 3.7 to 5.7 times the risk of leukemia and lymphoma, the researchers found. The 31,647 people with the smallest exposure had double the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and 3.5 times the risk of soft-tissue sarcomas, which can occur at various places in the body...”

A note to our readers. We apologize for the long delay in publishing. In early August, Ellen’s mother, Mae, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to the liver. The last two months have been spent with Mae, who has now moved from New Jersey to our house.

WASTE NOT # 244. 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 $US50; Overseas $65. Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.