International Paper Cancels Tire Test-Burn at NY Mill

Nov. 17, 2006 - International Paper has cancelled its test-burning of tire chips at its Ticonderoga, N.Y., paper mill, two days after scaling-back the initial test-burn.

The trial of "tire-derived fuel," launched on Tuesday (Nov. 14) at the mill, was set up to allow up to three tons of tire chips per hour to be fed into the boiler that powers the plant's electrical generator.

IP decided to stop the test burn Thursday after watching the levels of particulate emissions rise, said spokeswoman Donna Wadsworth. The company remained in compliance with environmental permits during the test, but found that particles produced through a combustion process and released into the air were higher than desired, she added.

“Throughout this process, our goal has been to balance the economic benefits of the project with our commitment to manage our environmental footprint in a responsible manner,” Wadsworth said in a written statement.

IP was given a temporary burn permit from New York environmental officials in September despite concerns from officials in Vermont, who said the plant’s smokestacks could emit toxic heavy metals and other pollutants that would blow eastward over their state.

Vermont state officials tried unsuccessfully to block the test in federal court.

Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, described the end of the testing as a “major public health victory.” VPIRG has opposed the tire-burning since IP proposed the idea more than three years ago.

“The data clearly showed that burning tires was producing a lot more pollution than company officials had anticipated,” Burns said. “They did the right thing by shutting down.”

For now, IP has abandoned all plans to burn tires for fuel at the site, Wadsworth said. “I think the public should be respectful of the decisions we made,” she said. “We committed to doing the trial in complete compliance—we did that. We committed to stopping the trial if there was any possibility of not being in total compliance, and we did that.”

SOURCE: Boston Globe

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