Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ticonderoga Burn

I guess the test burn is likely to happen at the International Paper mill in Ticonderoga New York. The state environment board authorized a two week test burn of tires which could provide about 10% of the energy needed by the plant. As the plant is located just across Lake Champlain, the prevailing winds will carry the emissions to Vermont locations. Bad enough, International Paper has declined to outfit the plan with state-of-the-art pollution control technology (electorstatic precipitatior) that would filter out toxic particulate matter. It is my understanding that Vermont has offered to help pay for this equipment, however, there ain't no takers at International Paper.



According to the NY state Waste Tire website, there are about 24.7 million waste tires in landfills throughout the state and that these comprise about 85% of all discarded tires in the state. What is not clear, is just how many tires are discarded in the empire state on a yearly basis, where will they go, and what are the plans to get rid of them? It might appear that perhaps that State of New York has a strong and powerful vested interest in the burning at Ticonderoga.



This additional insult to breathing Vermonters is nothing new. In previous articles, Vermont has been identified as the "tailpipe" for the industrial midwest carrying toxic chemicals and particulate to our bucolic state. And it goes way back........ If you research the nuclear testing in the early decades of the nuclear bombs, they have wind patterns showing the path of the fallout. The path is concentrated just before hitting the western part of Vermont as it flows "through the tailpipe" across Vermont.



So I guess we can't think that coming to a rural state of Vermont, with "clean air", no billboards, loads of farmland, and plenty of open land can remove us from contamination. Truth be told, we do have better outcomes in regards to cancer rates that our city cousins, however, the industrial creep cannot be avoided.



So, should you think that this piece is a bit of overeaction, how would you then describe the reaction of Vermont Department of Health? They will be tracking healthy statistics from Rutland,Addison and Burlington Counties, prior to the burn,during the burn and after the burn to monitor any health problems. There is serious concern that this release could erode the quality of Vermont air and water.



I just have to wonder what the long term effects will be if this burning continues. Unfortunately, history has shown too often, that when a business makes decisions about its bottom line versus the health of the community, that powerful feduciary responsibility to its stockholders wins out.



MOB

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