International Paper: Still looking at possibility of tire burn

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(Host intro) International Paper says it’s still looking at the possibility of burning tires for fuel at its Ticonderoga plant.

But the company says first it wants to determine which air pollution control technology it needs to reduce emissions.

Governor Jim Douglas says he’ll oppose any effort by the company to burn tires unless a specific type of pollution control equipment is installed.

VPRs Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) A previous plan by International Paper to burn tires as a way to cut heating costs was strongly opposed by the state of Vermont because IP refused to install state of the art equipment to reduce emissions from the burn.

Vermont officials were concerned that easterly winds would carry dangerous heavy metal emissions from the plant over Lake Champlain to the western side of the state.

The test burn was scheduled to last two weeks but it was shut down after 5 days because emission levels exceeded federal requirements.

Douglas says his opposition to the tire burn project hasn’t changed since last year.

(Douglas) "I’m disappointed to hear that the company is looking at it again unless they install an electrostatic precipitator the state of the art pollution control equipment that I’ve always believed is essential for safe burn I think it’s important that we protect the air quality of our state and until and unless the company is prepared to install that kind of equipment then I expect Vermont will continue to resist it."

(Kinzel) Last year Douglas offered to use state funds to help IP purchase the pollution control equipment. The company refused his offer and went ahead with the test burn after receiving permits from New York State and federal environmental officials. Is that offer still good?

(Douglas) "No they passed up their window of opportunity."

(Kinzel) IP spokesperson Donna Wadsworth says that while there are no immediate plans to revive the tire burn project, the company is continuing to research a number of pollution control devices:

(Wadsworth) "We constantly are in touch with technology and looking at new technologies that develops but if we were to return to a point where we wanted to introduce additional solid fuel into the boiler it would require significant amount of capital and right now we’re working on some other very key projects here at the mill and at some point in the future we may revisit this project but certainly not any time soon."

(Kinzel) Wadsworth says the company has launched a major effort to reduce its overall energy use.

(Wadsworth) "We’re looking at lighting efficiency we’re looking at motor efficiencies we’re looking at the efficiencies in our power plant and in all of our operating departments so just a whole array of opportunities for improving our energy efficiency reducing our energy consumption."

(Kinzel) Wadsworth says any future plan to revisit the tire burn project would be subject once again to both state and federal environmental review.

For VPR News I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.


AP Photo/Todd Bissonnette

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