Citizen’s group takes new tack in tire burn fight

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(Host) A citizen’s group has taken a new tack in its fight against the test burning of tires at the International Paper Company plant in Ticonderoga, New York.

The group wants the paper company to install better anti-pollution equipment at the plant before proceeding with the test.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports:

(Zind) In addition to organizing large turnouts at past public hearings on the tire test burn, members of the group People for Less Pollution have written to International Paper CEO John Faraci to express their opposition to the burn, unless new equipment is first installed.

Rich Carpenter is with People for Less Pollution. Carpenter says his group is now asking heads of other companies to appeal to Faraci.

(Carpenter) “We’ve sent all kinds of letters and postcards and other forms of communications to Mr. Faraci and to the best of my knowledge no one has ever heard back. So this was an attempt for people to be dealing on a peer basis to perhaps get his attention in a way that we have not been able to up until now.”

(Zind) Carpenter’s group has been contacting leaders of companies that make environment concerns central to their mission. He says of the numerous firms that have been contacted. So far Ben and Jerry’s, Newman’s Own Organic and Seventh Generation have said they’ll contact Faraci.

Martin Wolf is Director of Product and Environmental Technology with of Vermont -based Seventh Generation which sells environmentally safe household products.

(Wolf) “As a member of the Vermont community, we believe in an effort to protect that community it’s appropriate for us to speak directly to International Paper on that point.”

(Zind) Wolf says Seventh Generation has sent a letter to International Paper’s CEO, signed by company President Jeffrey Hollender.

People for Less Pollution has stopped short of calling for a boycott of International Paper Company products. Rich Carpenter says there’s debate within the organization on that idea.

(Carpenter) “People have called for a boycott, our group has not taken that step. We have sought to bring pressure to bear on IP in every way that we can. At the same time, we’re sensitive to the fact that IP is a major economic force in the Champlain Valley.”

(Zind) For its part, International Paper says the reason for the two-week test burn is to determine if the additional equipment is needed to burn tires at the Ticonderoga plant. The company says the test burn will be closely monitored and steps will be taken to prevent emissions from exceeding permitted levels.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.

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