International Paper Co. will schedule a two-week test burn of tire-derived fuel at its Ticonderoga plant after receiving a final permit from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
However, Vermont's top elected officials-displeased at a tire-burning facility just across Lake Champlain from their state-have vowed to fight the test burn by any legal means available.
The New York agency issued the permit Sept. 18, a week after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency let a 45-day review period pass without comment. The EPA had the power to either grant or deny the final permit, but chose instead not to take action, automatically deferring the question to New York.
International Paper is shooting for early November to begin the test burn, according to a company spokeswoman. The project is designed to increase gradually from one ton to three tons of TDF burned per hour, equivalent to about 10 percent of the Ticonderoga plant's fuel needs measured by BTUs, she said.
Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas and Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., have opposed International Paper's TDF plans from the beginning. They and various Vermont environmentalists claim the test burn will release unacceptable amounts of toxic pollutants into the air, and that some $10 million to $15 million worth of further pollution control equipment is necessary at Ticonderoga to protect public health.
In a Sept. 20 statement, Douglas said he and Jeffords had filed a petition with the EPA asking the agency to oppose the New York permit. They also have filed an appeal of a New York trial court's decision to let the test burn go ahead without further environmental impact studies. They are considering other legal avenues to oppose International Paper's plans, he said.
Douglas said International Paper should be required to install state-of-the-art pollution control technology if it is going to burn tires for fuel at its Ticonderoga facility.
International Paper insists the pollution control technology it already has installed at Ticonderoga is state-of-the-art, and the equipment Douglas and Jeffords want probably is unnecessary. The company has said it will drop all plans to use TDF in Ticonderoga if the toxic pollutant readings are anywhere near the legal limits.