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Air permits for incinerators in disguise

I thought this might interest those on the list who are involved in
air permits. I haven't verified the information, but it is a good
reminder to always ask for verifying data before accepting claims.

Please contact the original poster, Bradley Angel at
bradley@greenaction.org if you have questions about this.

Lara Sutherland
Environmentally Preferable Purchasing
Health Care Without Harm
ph: 303-377-7048
fax: 303-377-7049

This is a forwarded message
Monday, January 10, 2005, 10:36:37 AM, LSutherland@hcwh.org wrote:

===8<==============Original message text===============
From: Bradley Angel <bradley@greenaction.org>
To: "hcwh" <hcwh@lists.hcwh.org>
Date: Monday, January 10, 2005, 10:36:37 AM
Subject: [hcwh] Urgent Alert and Update on Incinerators in Disguise - please be on the look out in your area!

Hello HCWH friends,


As some of you are aware, and others may not be, dozens of mostly new companies have formed to promote
Plasma arc, pyrolysis, gasification and catalytic cracking for the treatment of waste, including medical waste.
Virtually every company promoting these technologies claims publicly that they have zero emissions to the air,  
and are not incineration?.sound good?

Just one problem ? it is not true.
We are now seeing proposals for new facilities for all types of waste popping up around the country.
We are fearful that many of these will be approved with the local communities and even local regulators not being told the truth about toxic emissions of dioxin and other pollutants, without public hearings or environmental impact reports.
Greenaction and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) have been working furiously to research and respond to the large amount of proposals for these technologies.
There is no doubt they are all incinerators ? in disguise.  While different from traditional incineration in that the waste is not directly burned, but heated?the waste gases are incinerated and emitted out a stack or combusted in an engine to generate electricity and then emitted into the air.
In the summer of 2003 North American Power Company was about to get a permit for a commercial medical waste treatment facility in Chowchilla, California, using pyrolysis.  Greenaction discovered the proposal days before the city was set to approve the permit, and we succeeded in getting the city to ask for more data to back up the claims of zero emissions.  Rather than provide data, the company disappeared from Chowchilla and never submitted information.  
A few months ago we defeated, at least for now, another proposal by Plastic Energy LLC for a catalytic cracking facility for plastic waste.  Like many others, this was promoted as zero emissions, and as a recycling, renewable energy project. Greenaction challenged the company that had failed to present any data to back up their claims, yet had received their local and air district permit.  We succeeded in getting the San Joaquin Valley Air District to realize their mistake and they pulled the company?s permit, acknowledging their would be emissions and that the project included incineration of waste gases.  In response to the truth finally coming out, the company has dropped their effort for now.
Now we are seeing a much more serious onslaught of proposals, most without any data whatsoever or with questionable data.
A company called International Environmental Solutions and Neoteric Environmental Solutions have built a facility in Romoland, Riverside County.  They claim their technology is zero emissions, but the South Coast Air Quality Management District disagrees.
Neoteric, the company operating the plant, is secretive about their name, their intent, their permits, and even what technology they use.  When I called the company and asked what technology they use, I was told ?it depends who you ask.? I responded that I was asking them, the company.  It appears to be plasma arc in combination with pyrolysis, but this is uncertain. According to the state Dept. of Health Services, the company is interested in applying for a medical waste treatment permit.
In California, Integrated Environmental Technologies (aka InEnTec) has just received a land use permit from the Tehama County Planning Commission in Red Bluff for a commercial plasma arc medical waste facility.  IET is also interested in siting a facility in Stockton.  Greenaction has been in discussion with IET about their technology, and has received some data from the company.  Unfortunately, none of the data is from a commercial operating facility.  We are particularly alarmed at IET?s public claims of ?pollution free? operations, and the claims on their website about successfully operating facilities in several locations that appears to be incorrect.  Greenaction has begun alerting residents in Red Bluff and Stockton.
In the U.S. there is only one commercial waste facility using any of these technologies, to our knowledge, and that is in Hawaii. Asian Pacific Environmental Technology uses IET?s plasma arc system.  The facility has been plagued with problems, including a recent serious enforcement action and $64,000 fine.  APET blames IET?s equipment for the problem, but clearly APET themselves also are at serious fault.  APET now wants to greatly expand their operations.
Despite the problems at the Hawaii facility, IET claims the facility is running successfully.  DESPITE SEVERAL YEARS OF OPERATION, NOT ONE EMISSIONS TEST OR AIR MONITORING HAS TAKEN PLACE EVER AT THE PLANT. If the technology is so great, why not have emissions testing from a commercial facility? The answer is obvious to us: it will show emissions of dioxin and other pollutants.
According to government officials in Tehama County, CA, IET did not disclose any of the problems with facilities using their technology. 
IET?s website also claims other facilities are successfully operating, such as a mixed waste (radioactive/hazardous) in Washington.
However, contrary to the claim on their website, IET?s technology person Bill Quapp admitted the mixed waste facility was closed down due to operational and financial problems?obviously not successful.
Global Energy Resources has active proposals in Arizona for some type of plasma system in Sierra Vista (garbage) and Nogales (sewage sludge), and was about to get approved until Greenaction alerted residents and challenged the company to provide data to back up their claims of no emissions.  It has been over one month and still no data at all has been submitted by the company.
We are aware of other companies proposing similar projects elsewhere in the U.S..
VISIT THE GREENACTION WEBSITE www.greenaction.org and GAIA website www.no-burn.org
for information about many of these issues and companies.

===8<===========End of original message text===========

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