IP History of Law Suits and Permit Violations

1926 - International Paper Co. purchases a pulp mill which has been in Ticonderoga since the late 19th century. (Bill Kovach, "Vermont Seeks Ruling Against New York and Paper Mill on Champlain Pollution," New York Times, 6 December 1970)

1965 - New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) orders IP to construct treatment systems for its plant.  IP opts instead to build a new plant (the current facility) 10 miles north of the previous plant. (Bill Kovach, "Vermont Seeks Ruling Against New York and Paper Mill on Champlain Pollution," New York Times, 6 December 1970)

1968-1970 - IP and the state of Vermont dispute over a 300-acre mass of sludge (20 feet thick in places) IP has deposited on the bed of Lake Champlain.  IP refuses to admit that the sludge bed - on the lake's floor, at the end of Ticonderoga Creek, where the mill dumps its effluent - is the responsibility of IP. (Bill Kovach, "Vermont Seeks Ruling Against New York and Paper Mill on Champlain Pollution," New York Times, 6 December 1970)

1970 - IP opens its current mill. (Bill Kovach, "Vermont Seeks Ruling Against New York and Paper Mill on Champlain Pollution," New York Times, 6 December 1970)

1978 - Vermont landowners file a class-action suit against IP for damaging their property values. (Ed Barna, "IP in $5 million settlement," Valley Voice, 25 July 1989)

1981 - More than 3 million gallons of partially-treated waste water leak out of a drainage pipe into nearby wetlands that feeds into Lake Champlain. (Kevin Ellis, Burlington Free Press, 5 Nov 1989)

1982 - Approximately 300 gallons of fuel oil overflow a storage tank and run into the lake. (Kevin Ellis, Burlington Free Press, 5 Nov 1989)

1982 - Nearly two million gallons of waste water, only partially treated, is discharged into the lake. (Kevin Ellis, Burlington Free Press, 5 Nov 1989)
 
1983 - Eight tons of dioxin-laced sludge from IP's landfill breach a container dike and come to rest near a creek that runs into Lake Champlain. (Kevin Ellis, Burlington Free Press, 5 Nov 1989)
 
1986 - A landfill leachate collection pond overflows for longer than four days, spilling a half million gallons of liquid landfill drainage into a creek that runs into the lake. (Kevin Ellis, Burlington Free Press, 5 Nov 1989)
 
1987 - IP under-reports its chloroform emissions by 90 percent, claiming an emission of 4,700 pounds, instead of 47,000 pounds. (Greg Norton, "IP reports: chloroform emissions soar," Valley Voice, 25 July 1989)
 
1988 - IP again emits 47,000 pounds of chloroform, making it the largest chloroform source in New York State. (Greg Norton, "IP reports: chloroform emissions soar," Valley Voice, 25 July 1989)
 
1989 - IP offers Vermont landowners $5 million to drop their 1978 class action suit.  IP admits to no wrongdoing. (Ed Barna, "IP in $5 million settlement," Valley Voice, 25 July 1989)
 
1989 - IP Ticonderoga mill manager R. Fred Chasse, in a guest editorial in the Burlington Free Press, points to incineration as the nation's number one source of dioxin. (R. Fred Chasse, "Paper mill is not lake's largest polluter," Burlington Free Press, 14 November 1989)
 
1990 - A researcher for the Vermont Transportation Agency's materials and research lab finds a new sludge bed, just north of IP's diffuser pipe. The researcher, Richard Haupt, says the volume of sludge would cover a football field to a depth of 18 feet. (Ed Barna, "Mill discharge into lake is considerable," Valley Voice, 23 January 1990)
 
1990 -  A two-mile pipe carrying leachate from one of the mill's two landfills bursts, sending a million gallons of effluent into wetlands adjacent to Lake Champlain.  Then an employee of the plant breaks a beaver dam that was containing the waste, and it spills into Lake Champlain. IP is fined $65,000 by the state. ("IP's environmental troubles stacking up," Pulp and Paper magazine, June 1991) (Vermont environmental officials only learn about this spill after Senator Elizabeth Ready's constituents call her to report strange activities by IP along the shoreline.)
 
[Although this item is about the IP mill in Jay, Maine, it is useful for insight into IP corporate culture.
 
1991 - International Paper Co. pleads guilty to five felony counts and pays $ 2.2 million in federal fines for illegally storing and treating hazardous waste and making false statements to regulators.  The infractions occurred at the company's Androscoggin mill in Jay, Maine. According to a release by the U.S. Department of Justice, IP pleaded guilty to three violations of hazardous waste laws under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) involving the generating, storing, and treating of hazardous waste without a federal or state permit.  This way, the mill avoided costly regulatory requirements for proper hazardous waste management.  The fourth and fifth felony counts charge that International Paper knowingly made false material statements to federal and state environmental authorities that the Androscoggin mill did not generate, store, or treat hazardous waste, and that the mill had only one discharge outfall to the Androscoggin River when in fact it had two.  According to the Justice Department, this was the largest fine, criminal or civil, ever assessed inMaine for environmental law violations, and was the second largest criminal fine to that date ever collected in the U.S. for violations of hazardous waste laws. (Associated Press, International Paper Pleads Guilty to Felony Counts)]
 
1991 - March - IP experiences a liquid waste spill.  Company officials estimate the size of the spill as 300 gallons; union representatives say more than 10,000 gallons were spilled. (Larry Maxwell, "Size of International Paper spill in dispute," United Press International, 8 March 1991)
 
1991 - November - IP spills a half million gallons of partially-treated wastes.  A quarter million gallons flow into Lake Champlain. (Ed Barna, "International Paper Debate Heats Up," Vermont Business Magazine, December 1991)
 
1992 - In sworn testimony before a Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Stephen Perry, representing the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and the United Paperworkers International Union, said, "At Ticonderoga, New York, chlorine and chlorine dioxide spills were so commonplace that even the complaint officer was gassed during the inspection." ("Senate Subcommittee on Labor Hearing on: OSHA Reform: Fulfilling the Promise of a Safe and Healthy Workplace," Federal News Service, 17 March 1992)

1993 - The EPA fines IP $32,000 for violating the federal Right-to-Know law.  EPA charged IP with failing to notify the proper agencies following an accidental air release of 88 pounds of chlorine from Ticonderoga in July 1990. ("EPA Collects $32,000 In Penalties From International Paper Company For Violations of Right-To-Know Requirements," PR Newswire, 26 April 1993)

1994 - IP is fined $175,000 by NYS Department of Environmental Conservation for air quality permit violations. (VPIRG Freedom of Information Request to NYDEC, 1997)

1997 - IP burns six tons of tires in its power boiler, to test their use as an alternative fuel.  Neither IP nor NYSDEC officials notify environmental regulators in Vermont. The test burn comes to light as a result of inquiries made by VPIRG staffers. ("VPIRG Uncovers IP Plans to Burn Tires," VPIRG Update, Winter 1998)

2003 - IP officials from the Ticonderoga Plant declare that no test data was taken at the 1997 test burn of tires when questioned at a public meeting in Middlebury, Vermont. Vermont officials find test data submitted to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation that indicates mercury levels rose 200% and zinc levels rose 500% in fly ash.

2005 - IP resubmits permit to test burn tires. Permit is found to be incomplete by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. IP officials state they will resubmit permit and hope to test burn tires in the fall.

MORE INFORMATION: (Links below)

Is Burning Tires Safe? (176k pdf file)

IP Environmental Report Card (72k pdf file)

Tire Burn Background

Tire Burn Could Cause Children Severe Harm by Dr. Jack Mayer

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