Sunday, April 03, 2005

EPA Releases Findings of Kalamazoo River Damage Assessment

Roughly 80 miles of the Kalamazoo River, stretching east of Kalamazoo and into part of Portage Creek, is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). It is estimated that the river contains approximately 350,000 pounds of PCBs. Five paper mill sites along the Kalamazoo River leaked PCBs into the river for decades. The Kalamazoo River flows directly into Lake Michigan.

In 1990, the Environmental Protection Agency designated the river a Superfund site. State and federal agencies conducted a five-year natural resource damage assessment. The findings show... ...the PCBs have done significant damage to fish and wildlife. Note that it took 15 years since designation to complete a five-year assessment.

The EPA says that the Kalamazoo River is safe for recreational use, but people who fish in the river should be aware that fish they catch have consumed significant amounts of carcinogenic PCBs.

The next phase of the assessment involves restoration and creative remedies for the contamination. The five companies that leaked the PCBs into the river will be responsible for footing the bill for the cleanup. A proposed cleanup plan for the river will be released later this year.

One of the companies being held responsible is Weyerhaeuser. In January '05, The Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached a settlement with these highly-negligent-evil-polluting-assholes that will require them to clean up the Plainwell Mill and the 12th Street Landfill in Plainwell. The settlement requires Weyerhaeuser to reimburse EPA for approximately $138,000 in costs incurred in connection with the mill and landfill.

Weyerhaeuser (an international timber conglomerate with annual sales in the billions) will also pay $6.2 million that will be used to fund cleanup of river contamination. Weyerhaeuser makes that much money in a couple hours by chopping down forests all over North America. The settlement also requires Weyerhaeuser to withdraw its objections to a related settlement with Plainwell, Inc., its corporate parent and several affiliated companies, which is now pending in bankruptcy court. Implementation of the Plainwell settlement will make additional cleanup funds available for cleanup and investigation of the site.

Dear Weyerhaeuser: Either you're evil or you're dumb. Which is it? Are you lazy or just stupid?

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