Toxic Mess: EPA places former Missoula Co papermill on National Priorities List
By Matthew Koehler, May 22, 2013
On March 12, 2011, the Missoulian reported that “Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. officials say they’ve already cleaned up their Frenchtown paper mill.” The article went on to quote Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. spokeswoman Lisa Esneault:
“When we discontinued operations at the Missoula mill more than a year ago, we developed a detailed strategy for removing all residual process materials subject to environmental regulation. We discussed our plans with the (Montana Department of Environmental Quality) at that time and have since implemented all activities as promised. This work is now complete and we believe all environmental issues at the mill have been appropriately addressed.”
Well, today, Missoula County residents woke up to the news that:
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed placing Frenchtown’s old paper mill site on the National Priorities List, a step closer to triggering a Superfund cleanup effort.
The former Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. mill has evidence of dioxin, furan, arsenic and manganese contamination on portions of its 3,200-acre grounds. An NPL listing would allow more testing to confirm the extent of the problem and research of the plant’s history to determine which former or current owners might bear financial responsibility for fixing it.
“This isn’t a taxpayer-paid program,” Missoula County environmental health supervisor Peter Nielsen said Tuesday. “It’s paid for by the parties that profited from the operation, sale or closure of that mill. They’re brought back to the table to pay for the messes they’ve left behind. That’s where we’re headed, and that’s what we felt all along is what should happen.”
Current property owners Frenchtown Technology and Industrial Center did not respond to phone and email requests for comment on the EPA announcement. Previously, company redevelopment manager Ray Stillwell told the Missoulian he hoped the site could avoid a federal listing by managing its own cleanup efforts."
It’s worth remembering that the Smurfit-Stone Container Corp was one of the original “timber partners” (along with Montana Wilderness Association, National Wildlife Federation and Montana Trout Unlimited) that was part of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Partnership’s proposal for 100,000 acres of politically mandated national forest logging, which later became part of Sen Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Act.
It’s also worth remembering that the Smurfit-Stone Container paper mill closed on December 31, 2009, the very same day the Black Liquor Tax Credit loophole expired, which was much more than a coincidence. During 2009, Smurfit-Stone Corporation collected $654 million from US taxpayers utilizing this “black liquor tax credit” boondoggle. All told, the U.S. Pulp and Paper industry took $6.5 billion from U.S. Taxpayers in 2009 under the black liquor boondoggle.
Well, it’s looking like the boondoggle will continue, since Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation executives apparently lied to Missoula County citizens and left Missoula County with a toxic mill site that will likely require federal EPA Superfund clean-up. But, hey, at least the Smufit-Stone executives got $50.4 million in bonuses during 2009, right?
Note: On May 27, 2011 Rock-Tenn Co completed it’s $3.5 billion takeover of Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. Rock-Tenn Co CEO and Chairman James A. Rubright is with the American Forest & Paper Association. Also, word has it that Smurfit-Stone was bankrupted and restructured before Rock-Tenn acquired and Rock-Tenn’s envio counsel became Rock-Tenn’s enviro VP. In other words, the assets, profits and subsidies are continuous, but not the liabilities.
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…In a June 26, 1994, Cleveland Plain Dealer article entitled Environmentalists Leery of Possible Loopholes, Chris Trepal, co-director of the Earth Day Coalition in Northeast Ohio, lambasted the enabling VAP legislation as “one of the poorest public policy measures I’ve ever seen.” A clairvoyant Richard Sahli, executive director of the Ohio Environmental Council, echoed his sentiment in the May 26, 1994, Cincinnati Post, “We do predict there will be a lot of shoddy cleanups under this bill the state will never catch.” Testifying before the House Energy & Natural Resources Committee on behalf of the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, Cincinnati environmental lawyer David Altman asserted, “This bill is a definite bait-and-switch. What it is supposed to do and what it does is two different things.”
A seminal, 152 page 2001 Gund Foundation funded study by the Green Environmental Council confirmed the critics’ predictions. A dearth of agency resources to provide meaningful regulatory oversight combined with the lack of a credible, established enforcement mechanism has rendered the feckless, industry aligned program toothless. “It’s a broken program – it doesn’t work,” declared the council’s Bruce Cornett in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Both the Sierra Club and Ohio Citizen Action opposed the 2000 $400 million Clean Ohio state bond issue out of concern the fungible proceeds could be utilized to prop up the lame Voluntary Action Program and create a trojan horse polluters slush fund. “This is the governor’s attempt to whitewash his EPA,” charged Jane Forrest Redfern, environmental projects director for Ohio Citizen Action in a November 1, 2000, Cleveland Plain Dealer article. Dedicated professionals, veteran Ohio EPA bureaucrats attempted to rectify the problem. According to the October 4, 2000, Cleveland Plain Dealer, “EPA staffers who shared some of the environmentalists’ concerns, at one point launched a quiet but unsuccessful campaign to disband the program.”
For six years after the Voluntary Action Program’s 1996 implementation, the U.S. EPA refused to extend program participants federal immunity and threatened to decertify the Ohio EPA due to the VAP’s expansive, inhibiting secrecy provisions and tangible lack of transparency. In a brokered, bifurcated modification to the Ohio VAP that “frankly doesn’t make sense at all,” according to Ohio Public Interest Research Group director Amy Simpson (Akron Beacon Journal, February 24, 2001), an alternative “memorandum of agreement” VAP track with enhanced public access was crafted. Companies that elect the original, opaque, “classic” option, which conceals under an embargo the extent and nature of contamination, will not be afforded U.S. EPA liability insulation. “Why Ohio would want a two-headed monster is beyond me,” quipped the Ohio Environmental Council’s Jack Shaner. In SCA’s case, the jaundiced, green and incompliant wants to hide what you can’t see.
Interested in learning more about the proposed Superfund designation at Smurfit-Stone?
Attend the Clark Fork Coalition's Walk and Talk this Thursday, June 20 at 12 noon.
What about Metwit?
Disclosure: I own this company.
I have been going to PHC for over a year now and after reading the articles and comments I feel I have to comment . I have never heard any dentist/staff raise their voice at coworkers or patients in my time, and believe me I have had many appointments. I have had appointments with Dr. Jensen and Dr. Hollern and I have only seen nice professional behavior. I feel that people generally feel that PHC is a sub standard facility and that is far beyond the truth. They provide a service that is not appreciated as far as I am concerned.
The Weather Underground app has a fire layer in the map view.
WOW!!!! thank you to the whole dental staff at Partnership. I have received only the utmost care when I have come to my appointments and look forward to seeing everyone. I have no where else to go-If the articles are true, then the staff needs a million dollar raise, for their efforts to carry on in the war zone. I'm sure a day does not go by that people do not comment on the articles in the paper which I have read as well. The dental staff never seem to comment to me about anything, they joke and laugh and appear to always be helping each other. My dentist jokes with the assistant during my visit which makes it go quick. Thank those that serve us all. I'm sure there are many wounded soldiers at Partnership who stand in the trenches for those who cannot speak for themselves, they will be rewarded someday.
Jamie Olson is an pathetic waste of human kind so is state director of Wyoming Wildlife Services, Rod Krischke. https://plus.google.com/u/0/11209645201988…
What a fucking asshole!!
This is in response to whomever posted about Adam Jensen and Lindsey hollern. As an employee at partnership dental I can attest to the fact that all
Of your accusations are completely inaccurate and I would suggest getting correct information before you post such a lengthy comment. As for the dentist getting off at 4 pm, have you seen the time of their last appt? It is at 430 pm. How can one get off at 4 pm when their last patient arrives at 430. Have you ever delt with a patient who is in mouth pain at 730 am? I can only assume the answer to that question is no. To say that there job is Cush is absolutely inaccurate. Whether or not their school is paid for or not is none of your business. The military has their school
Paid for as well. So what???? To say that Adam yells at reception is extremely inaccurate as well. Adam (and Lindsey) and if I'm being honest, all of the dentists are extremely nice to reception and understand how difficult the job at the front desk is. Adam has on numerous occasions stood up for reception in regards to Terry and has had receptions back for quite sometime. Lindsey is one of the sweetest people who work there so for you to assume she is a terrible person is inaccurate as well. Adam fights for reception in any way he can and will go out of his was to help as will any of the dentists that work there. So I suggest keeping your mouth shut when you do not have the correct information, and if you so choose to make a comment I would also suggest having the accurate information.
Everyone who disagrees with a particular point of view refers to that point of view as "incoherent." This isn't rocket science. This is so simple that a one-celled amoeba could understand it: Allowing, much less staging and encouraging, a brutal attack on any creature who is trapped, unable to defend itself, and in considerable pain and anguish is cruel and barbaric. Think "Roman gladiators." Coherent enough for you, "pure red-blooded American" that you claim to be? "Pure red-blooded American" doesn't equal "Cruel Barbarian."
As a current employee at PHC, I have heard the rumors and comments from different employees, so I decided to read more. I have heard that Adam Jensen often yells at the receptionists and his nurse. That he complains to patients about PHC and leadership every chance he gets (very unprofessional at best). He comes off as an entitled spoiled brat. That the women dentist that works there, I have been told, is not kind at all, her patients often leave untreated and that she is rather rough and, for a lack of better terms, "bitchy" to her patients. Maybe PHC isn't the best choice for these two dentists. It appears that the dentists at PHC have a pretty cush job. Four days a week and are out of the office by 4:00. Their student loans are being paid for them. Now, this is all hearsay, however, it sounds to me like they do not appreciate their jobs. Adam, be happy you have a job. You work at a public health clinic not private practice. Stop being so negative and looking for issues to bitch about, in attempts to bolster your lawsuit. Do what you went to school to do, dentistry, work out your contract and move on. Do you think that all the negativity you are bringing to PHC causes a happy work environment for your co-workers? Clearly not. A lot of people are talking and don't have the nicest things to say about you. Opinions generally are that you are a cry baby, angry that you weren't chosen for the director position.
Hmmm? Why not end the article with......"proud sponsor of drinking and driving"? Far be it for me to be critical of alcohol, I sure do enjoy partaking in my favorite adult beverages. This however is just poor marketing and borderline irresponsible.
This happened in 1989, in Washington DC. Why is the Independent reporting on it now?
Sounds to me, like Berkoff was the ONLY one to do ANYTHING about the rumors back in the day - what about the other people who "heard the rumors".... How many were there do you think? 50? 100? Are you going after them, too, Tony? Or is this (just as it sounds) a bitter vendetta that you have against someone who has done much more with his life for the sport and its athletes than a little vindictive person like you- perhaps you are jealous of Dave's accomplishments? I'm sorry for what Ms, Currin endured- i hope she finds peace- thank god for Dave Berkoff! Go crawl back under your rock, tony!
Just curious - SCAQ Tony & Bob - what exactly are YOU doing to advocate for victims of abuse, past and present? That is, besides attempting to vilify and slander someone who has indisputably taken steps to combat and prevent this issue in sport, specifically in USAS?
Dave Berkoff serves as a volunteer on the Board of USAS - how many uncompensated hours have YOU spent, Bob, working to effect positive change? What about you, Tony - if your capacious blogs are any indication, you apparently have countless hours to spend maligning Mr. Berkoff. To your credit, at least you're not profiting from your words. Ask yourself, though - is it possible that your time and 'talent' could be spent more constructively?
In order to continue to implement policy and make a positive change to protect athletes, Dave Berkoff is EXACTLY the kind of executive member that USA Swimming needs and wants - someone who has shown decades-long dedication to the sport and the support of its athletes.
FYI-"bob" is Currin's money seeking attorney and scaq is his mouthpiece.
Dave was a peer of Currin's at the time the rumors were circulating- meaning he was a couple years older. He was not her coach, her confident, her team mate- he was an athlete like she was. She did not know him- he did not know her. Where were her roommates, team mates, PARENTS? The parents took a large settlement from Curl to keep quiet and not press charges. But according to bob and tony, Dave should have gone to the police? He should have fought Currin's battle to the end with his fourth hand knowledge about a swimmer and a coach he never even met? Bologna. This was not a case of burying his head in the sand- Dave was motivated to get involved because of all of the rumors. Daves job is much bigger than Kelly Currin's lawsuit against Curl. Since his involvement there have been many changes in USA Swimmings Safe Sport Policy and predator coaches are getting ousted. Dave is an integral part of the solution. There will not be immediate justice for every victim out there but there's a lot more hope for them with Dave as their advocate.
I do not agree with what you have said about race horses. Especially in Montana and the Northwest. When our horses are finished racing, they are used for breeding, sold for saddle horses, dressage horses, hunter jumper horses, trail horses, pleasure horses, barrel horses, show horses, and sometimes retire just standing in the pasture for years because we cannot bear to part with them. We love our horses, and treat them with much dutiful care. They recieve the best of feed, care, shelter, and attention. That is why we do it. They are beautiful, magnificant animals that we admire and enjoy. As always there are a few minorities that need to be cut off at the knees for their treatment to animals, but the vast majority of us love, care and look out for the horses best interests more often better than our own interests. Some of the most horrible equine injuries are not by the sport of horse racing, but by common people who know just enough to be dangerous to a horse in everyday use. Montana is horse country, so do not shake your finger at a sport that is more regulated by state and national regulations than any other equine sport. Our horses get a set of new $100 shoes every 6 weeks. I personally have never purchased a pair of $100 shoes for myself.
I am more than happy to continue this conversation if you have any questions about something you know little about from hands on experience.
David Berkoff is a do nothing person. "Rumors" or not, when it comes to child molestation, you have an obligaiton to do SOMETHING. For him to dismiss what he heard as "rumors" is like throwing salt in the wound. What is he waiting for? Photos? Videos? Semen stains? What will it take for you to act? We need people in positions of authority who will act and not bury their heads in the sand.
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