Vermont to take active role in test of IPC tire burn

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says he needs to be convinced that a proposed test tire burn at the International Paper Company in Ticonderoga, New York will not harm the environment before the state of Vermont will allow the test burn to take place. It’s expected that IPC will file a formal application for this project by the end of the month.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) IPC wants to be able to burn millions of tires each year as a way to reduce heating costs at their facility. The company estimates that it could cut its energy expenses by almost $2 million a year by burning old tires instead of using heating oil.

However there are concerns that this proposal will have a negative impact on the air quality of the Champlain Valley region. IPC spokesperson Donna Wadsworth says the company is convinced that a two-week test burn can be conducted without any serious environmental problems:

(Wadsworth) “The technology is not new technology; it’s not rocket science, but it is technology. You have to have the right kind of equipment, an industrial boiler properly equipped with good air to fuel ratio control and emissions and pollution control devices. And we feel we have that.”

(Kinzel) Despite those assurances, Governor Douglas says he’s yet to be convinced that this project can proceed safely and he wants Vermont to take an active role in the New York State permit review process.

(Douglas) “We don’t have enough information to reach that conclusion at this point. We have some monitoring stations set up in Addison County to measure the impact of any test burn, so we’re going to be a part of the process as it goes through the regulatory system in New York State. But I won’t be satisfied until I’m assured that there’s no adverse impact on the health of the people of Vermont and that’s the standard by which I’ll measure their application.”

(Kinzel) Douglas says protecting public health and the environment has got to be Vermont’s top priority in the review of this case.

(Douglas) “I understand the economics of it, as the International Paper Company has presented them, but I think it’s important to understand the other impact and that’s on the health of the people of our state. Not only the people, but the animals who are grazing in western Vermont and also the impact on our natural environment. So I want to be sure that those standards are met before agreeing to support the burn.”

(Kinzel) If the New York State permit review process stays on schedule, IPC estimates that the two-week test burn could take place by the early fall.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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