Oregon Pulp Mill: Surfrider Petition Accepted!
(Nye Beach - near GP outfall)
The Oregon Dept of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has accepted Surfrider's Petition for Reconsideration on the NPDES permit of the Georgia Pacific Pulp and Paper Mill in Toledo! The Petition presents formal scientific and legal arguments for the agency to strengthen the terms of the permit. In the coming months, DEQ will review the points raised in the Petition, modifiy the terms of the permit they deem necessary, and then issue the permit for a public review and comment process. Specific elements Surfrider is advocating for include: improved scientific monitoring, analysis of treatmentment alternatives, and provision of a smaller mixing zone. DEQ's acceptance of the Petition is huge! GP releases 10 million gallons of wastewater a day off Nye Beach near surf spots, fishery habitat, etc. Thank you to the nearly dozen members of Surfrider's Oregon Environmental Issues Team (scientists, attorneys, permit afficianados, etc) who volunteered their personal time to help pull this document together under a 60 day deadline. Also, major thanks to CRAG and NEDC for providing pro bono support to make this happen. You all ROCK!!
Georgia-Pacific pollution permit to be examined
BETH CASPER Statesman Journal
October 18, 2006
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will reconsider the pollution permit for Georgia-Pacific’s pulp and paper mill in Toledo, the fifth time in six years the agency has done so.
The permit, renewed in July, regulates the millions of gallons of discharge released daily into the ocean in Newport.
Five environmental groups filed a petition with the agency last month. The DEQ’s decision to further evaluate the permit triggers a likely yearlong period of review and public comment.
“We’re really encouraged that DEQ has accepted our petition and hopeful that this will ultimately lead to a stronger permit to protect water quality on the central coast,” said Pete Stauffer, Oregon Policy Coordinator of Surfrider Foundation, one of the petitioners.
Among the pages of concerns Surfrider raised in the petition, two chief issues are improving monitoring of the water at Nye Beach and identifying treatment alternatives for the waste water coming from the plant.
Tom Picciano of Georgia-Pacific said the mill will continue to operate under the current permit during the review period.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality officials said some of the petitioners’ concerns stemmed from a lack of clarity in the July permit’s language.
For example, petitioners said the new permit increased the size of the mixing zone, or physical area in which pollution can mix with water before it has to meet water quality standards.
“We know (the permit couldn’t) double the size of the mixing zone without going through review,” said John Ruscigno, the water-quality manager for the Salem office of the state DEQ. “But I can see how (the petitioners) drew that conclusion.”
Since 2000, the agency has agreed to reconsider every industrial water pollution permit that was challenged — a total of about five cases.
bcasper@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 589-6994