N.Y. tire burning outrages Vt.

Despite months of protest by Vermonters, the International Paper Co. in Ticonderoga, N.Y., began a two-week test burn of tire chips last Tuesday as a means of reducingenergy costs, company spokeswoman Donna Wadsworth said.The International Paper plant, located on Lake Champlain, plans to use the chips, known as Tire Derived Fuel (TRD), as a substitute for wood chips and fuel oil for the next two weeks. Throughout the test, emissions will be monitored for compliance with federal emissions standards, Wadsworth said.”We’ve looked at this for three and a half years, there have been hundreds and thousands of hours of scientific research by us and by independent labs and by research scientists,”Wadsworth said.”And it has been reviewed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and scrutinized by the Environmental Protection Agency and further scrutiny of the second court of appeals,” said Wadsworth. “They’re telling us that we can do this, and we can do this safely, and we will not have an adverse health effect, and we are committed to that, and we are staying well under the limitations and health standards that are set.”But many Vermonters are not convinced. The Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) stated on its Web site that “burning tires releases large amounts of the metal zinc, leading to increases in fine particulate matter related to respiratory and cardiac disease.””IP lacks state-of-the-art particulate controls needed to capture this fine soot. Burning tires also releases dioxin, which was recognized by the EPA in 1985 as the most potent human made carcinogen known.Dioxin does not break down in the environment but builds up in the food chain, concentrating in meat and dairy products,” the Web site stated.Since the inception of the idea of burning tires three and a half years ago, protests have occurred throughout Vermont due to the health and pollution concerns.Joanna Colwell, from the Vermont grassroots organization People for Less Pollution said”We think it will affect the whole state, because the pollution blows to the east, and it can travel pretty far. Addison County has been the epicenter of the resistance to the plant because they are so close and we can see [the plant].” “That paper mill is the largest polluter in the whole Champlain Valley, so even before they started burning tires they produced 400,000 lbs. Of toxic pollution every year,” Colwell said.