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WTI: Four-day jury trial for criminal trespass

        

On Feb 14, 1992, a four-day jury trial concluded in which the "necessity defense" was raised for 31 citizens charged with criminal trespass for climbing over the fence between WTI and the access road on Oct 13, 1991.

The jury found the 31 citizens "not guilty"; the harm they sought to prevent was imminent and much greater than the harm caused by the act of trespass.

  • Dr. David Ozonoff, Chair of the Environmental Health Studies Department of Boston University's School of Public Health, testified that "Locating this incinerator here makes as much sense as designing a transportation system in Death Valley that relies on ice skates."
  • Dr. Herbert Needleman, world's leading expert on the effects of lead in children, testified that "the children in nearby East Elementary will suffer the negative effects of lead."
  • Dr. Michael McCawley, Professor of Air Pollution Control at West Virginia University, criticized the siting of the incinerator on the river in a valley where air inversions will cause the toxic pollution from WTI to blanket the area two out of every three days, causing serious health risks. He testified that the EPA used inappropriate and inadequate air modeling to issue the permit.
  • Hugh Kaufman, U.S. EPA official, testified that the permits were invalid and illegal.
  • Dr. Paul Connett, Dioxin researcher and Chemistry Professor at St. Lawrence University, New York, testified that the host communities of the other 18 operating commercial hazardous waste incinerators in the U.S. are plagued with serious health problems, and that the history of the incineration industry is one of fires, explosions and accidents.