Citizen Lawsuit Filed Against Evergreen’s Humboldt Bay Pulp Mill

Citizen Lawsuit Filed Against Evergreen’s Humboldt Bay Pulp Mill

January 2, 2006

For more information, please contact:
Patty Clary, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, 707-445-5100
Larry Evans, EPIC, 707-499-2994

San Francisco, CA — Two north coast citizens groups filed suit in federal court today against Evergreen Pulp, Inc. (Evergreen) for significant and ongoing violations of its pulp mill’s federal air quality permit.

In documents filed with the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District (NCUAQMD) requesting variances from its local air quality permit, Evergreen has admitted to repeatedly exceeding emission limits for particulate matter and total reduced sulfur since it purchased the mill in January, 2005.

The company also reported numerous violations caused by breakage of equipment installed to correct the problems. The groups filing the notice, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs) and Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), seek to enforce the Clean Air Act under provisions that allow citizens to file suit when government fails to act.

Noting that variances given to Evergreen by NCUAQMD cannot be used to weaken the pulp mill’s federal permit, Patty Clary of CATs said: “Evergreen could simply install equipment that’s able to keep its toxic waste out of our air and, by doing so, uphold federal law and become the good neighbor it claims to be.”

According to the U.S. EPA, exposure to the types of emissions produced by Evergreen’s Samoa pulp mill (very fine particles referred to as PM10), are most closely associated with health effects such as increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits for heart and lung disease, increased respiratory symptoms and disease, decreased lung function, and even premature death.

“It was necessary to take this step because compliance was not forthcoming,” said Larry Evans of EPIC. “We feel the health of the community is at risk.”

The groups’ lawsuit seeks remedies provided under the Clean Air Act, including assessment of civil penalties and “other appropriate relief against Evergreen for all its violations and harm.”