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U.S. EPA Documents show WTI lied about East Liverpool waste incinerator


January 6, 1993

Terri Swearingen, Tri-State Environmental Council, 304-387-0574
Alonzo Spencer, Save Our County, 216-385-4584
Beth Newman, Greenpeace Toxics Campaign, 304-387-1007

EAST LIVERPOOL -- Citizens from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania who oppose the operation of Waste Technologies Industries (WTI), the world's largest hazardous waste incinerator just 1100 feet away from an elementary school, will hold a press conference at 10:00 am on Wednesday, January 6, at East Liverpool City Hall, 126 West Sixth Street in East Liverpool.

Citizens are holding the press conference to reveal recently obtained EPA documents showing that WTI plans to conduct a trial burn at the facility on January 13, directly in confrontation to the Clinton/Gore Administration's stated intention to halt the trial burn until the General Accounting Office of the federal government conducts an investigation into the potential health consequences for the community and illegal activities in regard to the federal permit which the incinerator has obtained.

"We are outraged, but not surprised, that WTI and the EPA are once again conspiring to ram this incinerator down our throats," says Terri Swearingen, Registered Nurse and mother from Chester, West Virginia. "This is a slap in the face to the Clinton/Gore Administration and to the thousands of Ohio Valley citizens who want Clinton and Gore to keep their promise and stop WTI."

During the trial burn, WTI plans to test the burning efficiency for just four of the four hundred chemicals it is allowed to burn, under carefully controlled conditions with EPA supervision and scrutiny.

"The so-called trial burn will not tell us anything about this incinerator's performance," says Beth Newman of the Greenpeace Toxics Campaign. "It is outrageous to think that George Bush's EPA will allow WTI to use its trial burn to create for itself a clever and misleading public relations tool that has absolutely no basis in science."

Citizens point out that even if the incinerator could somehow burn at 99.99% efficiency 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the incinerator would still be spewing 3.5 million pounds of unburned toxic wastes on the community every year.

The EPA has admitted that during commercial operations, no hazardous waste incineration facility has been able to achieve a 99.99% Destruction Removal Efficiency (DRE). Citizens brought copies of letters they are sending to all six U.S. Senators from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania and a number of U.S. Representatives expressing their outrage at WTI's intended early trial burn.

Even more surprising and outrageous to citizen opponents was information contained in the new memos which demonstrates that the EPA has not resolved questions of who owns WTI, as they announced in October. As has been previously released to the media, citizen researchers have discovered over 40 separate corporations have been created in attempting to get the WTI incinerator on line.

Citizens believe this corporate maze was created in order to shield the true owners of the hazardous waste facility from liability in case of an accident or financial problems. According to a memo sent by the U.S. EPA to WTI on Christmas Eve, EPA still wants to know if Von Roll, Inc. is one of the facility's operators and what role various corporate entities will play if the incinerator goes into commercial operation.

"Just as we suspected in October, the EPA has still not resolved ownership questions about WTI," says Alonzo Spencer. "If EPA misled the public in October and now says that it's not even sure who WTI's operators are, how can the public ever trust this company and this agency to protect this community?"

Copies of the newly-found memos and citizen letters to elected officials will be available at the news conference for members of the media.