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"Al Gore's conscience" speaks out in radio spot


For immediate release: Monday, August 28, 2000

Contact: Jennifer O'Donnell, (330) 375-5277 (o), (330) 535-2248 (h)

Opponents of an East Liverpool, Ohio hazardous waste incinerator are working to take their campaign to radio airwaves this fall to pressure Vice President Al Gore to fulfill his 1992 promise to keep the incinerator from operating.

The 30-second radio spot, 'Al Gore's Conscience,' reminds the vice president of his commitment to keep the Waste Technologies Industries (WTI) incinerator from burning waste 1,100 feet from an elementary school. The spot was produced by Ohio Citizen Action and can be heard on the group's web site. The group is now working to raise the funds to air the spot and is accepting contributions on the internet.

'We want Vice President Gore to hear the ad wherever his campaign travels take him, not just here in Ohio,' said Jennifer O'Donnell, Akron area director for Ohio Citizen Action.

Gore said that a review now underway by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) ombudsman 'will uncover enough information on which to base a rational decision' whether to keep the incinerator operating (Columbus Dispatch, April 11, 2000).

In February, administration officials committed to an expedited, independent review of WTI that was to be completed by mid-May. The ombudsman did not start the review until May, however, and does not expect to issue his recommendations until October.

'Gore's EPA just came out with a report that says dioxin causes cancer. As of June 12, Gore's EPA should have moved to shut WTI down,' O'Donnell said. She was referring to the agency's leaked draft report that concludes that dioxin is a human carcinogen, and that the cancer risk from dioxin exposure is up to 10 times higher than previous projections. Dioxin is a by-product of waste incineration.

Gore first promised to stop the incinerator from opening at a 1992 campaign stop in Weirton, West Virginia, just across the Ohio River from East Liverpool, calling the siting of the facility on the bank of the river 'just unbelievable.' In December, 1992, Gore issued a press release saying that the new administration would not issue the plant a test burn permit until serious questions concerning its safety were answered, and called for an investigation.

Within weeks, however, the plant received the green light for commercial operation. Gore did nothing to stop it, even though legal experts and EPA officials said the Clinton-Gore administration could have revoked the permit as soon as they took office.

More on WTI.

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