A week after a planned two-week test burn of tire-derived fuel, International Paper Co. has decided not to use TDF at its Ticonderoga plant.
Preliminary test data indicates long-term use of tire-derived fuel at the facility isn't economically feasible at this time, according to IP.
The company's sudden decision ends a long, contentious process, during which environmentalists and elected officials from Vermont-which lies just across Lake Champlain from Ticonderoga-denounced the TDF plan. They claimed it inevitably would lead to unacceptably high levels of toxic compounds in Vermont's air.
Jim Douglas, Vermont's Republican governor, and Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., led an effort to force IP to install an electrostatic precipitator at Ticonderoga at a cost of $10 million to $15 million, even offering to pay part or all of the expense. In an Oct. 26 press release, Douglas said the Ticonderoga plant emitted some 268,000 pounds of toxins into the air in 2004, more than eight times the entire amount of air pollution in Vermont that same year.
Douglas tried, but failed, to get International Paper CEO John Faraci to discuss the issue. He also couldn't get the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and a series of courts up to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals to intervene and stop the test burn.
IP said the wet scrubbers installed at Ticonderoga are more than adequate to keep emissions of sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide well below EPA limits during the test burn, which began Nov. 7. But as the levels of TDF burned were gradually increased, particulate levels rose uncomfortably close to legal limits.
IP always said it would stop the test burn immediately if any pollutant level approached the limit, a company spokeswoman said. "Above all else, we have to maintain our commitment to the environment and our integrity," she said.
Douglas said in a press release that he is very pleased IP ended the test burn.
The decision to end the Ticonderoga test burn won't affect IP's use of TDF in other areas of the U.S., the spokeswoman said. Currently, seven IP facilities in the U.S. have permits to use TDF, and they all do so at varying levels, she said.