Map depicting the mill's massive waste ponds. Map presented at the public hearing held in Slidell, LA on February 4, 2014Last week, there were two public hearings regarding the paper mill that killed hundreds of thousands of fish due to an illegal discharge in 2011. These hearings were well attended by about 150 attendees between the two meetings. While there were some folks that were for and against the draft permit, GRN does not feel that the proposed permit is protective enough, especially due to the shady past of this mill.
According to EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory, this mill dumped 183,997 pounds of toxic chemicals into the Pearl River! These pollutants include ammonia, barium compounds, manganese compounds, methyl ethyl ketone, methanol, and zinc compounds. And yet there are no limits for these toxins in the proposed permit!
While GRN is currently drafting technical comments on this proposed permit, many of the issues can be summed up in these three points:
- The mill must monitor for and have limits on all toxic and polluting chemicals that might be discharged from the mill.
- The mill must put in place an enforceable plan to systematically reduce the pollution coming from the mill.
- The mill must develop a stormwater plan that will be capable of withstanding a 100-year storm.
GRN will be asking our supporters to weigh in before the comment period ends on February 25.
You can find the draft permit and LDEQ’s rationale here.
Matt is GRN’s Senior Policy Director