Demand Washington Paper Company Practice Responsible Waste Management

Christopher Craig

Target: Jefferson County Public Health Director Jean Baldwin

Goal: Stop Washington paper company’s environmentally caustic waste disposal.

The Port Townsend Paper Corporation (PTPC) is the only paper company in the state of Washington with an ‘inert’ landfill permit, which allows less regulated waste disposal than the usual ‘limited purpose’ permit. As a result, caustic ash is dumped into the landfill without monitoring for possibly serious contamination of local groundwater. The Jefferson County Public Health department must require that PTPC update its landfill permit.

Every other paper manufacturer in Washington maintains a limited purpose landfill permit, which holds the companies accountable for the waste they dispose of. Limited purpose permits require regular groundwater monitoring and proof of funds to pay for possible cleanup efforts. This assures that in the event of health or environmental threats from the landfill, the company will pay for the cleanup instead of public tax dollars. In comparison, inert landfill permits are intended for disposal of materials that have zero impact on the environment, like gravel and concrete, and require no environmental monitoring.

PTPC, with its highly alkaline ash waste, is in clear violation of the criteria law for an inert permit. Waste products from paper manufacturing have long been recognized as serious threats to the environment. Groundwater contamination can lead to substantial changes in the acidity and chemical composition of local bodies of water, which can have drastic effects on plant and animal life.

We must protect our natural resources from lack of corporate responsibility. PTPC should be held to the same expectations as every other paper manufacturer in the area. By signing the petition below, you can ask Jefferson County Public Health Director Jean Baldwin to require a limited purpose landfill permit for the Port Townsend Paper Corporation.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Baldwin,

The Port Townsend Paper Corporation has escaped environmental scrutiny for far too long. They are the only paper manufacturer in Washington that operates under an inert landfill permit, and it’s quite clear that they don’t qualify for it. The ash waste produced by their facility has potentially caustic effects on local plant and animal life, and yet they are not currently required to monitor these effects. We continue to stand by as a single corporation endangers our precious local ecosystem. This must end.

The Port Townsend Paper Corporation should be held to the same standards as the rest of the paper industry, with a limited purpose landfill permit. This will require that they take responsibility for their own waste, and protect public tax dollars from paying for potential future cleanup. Let’s not let our waterways become another ecological horror story of the effects of corporate greed. Please require that the Port Townsend Paper Corporation be given a limited purpose landfill permit.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Christopher Craig via Flickr.

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