Saturday, August 19, 2017

Protesters outside Seattle EPA allege KapStone Paper polluting river

KapStone Paper workers and environmental activists demonstrated outside the Seattle office of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday, urging the agency to take action against the company for activities they said are endangering the Longview area by polluting a local river and killing an endangered species of fish.

"Our 800 members recently learned that KapStone Paper is killing smelt, an endangered species, and harming our river,” Kurt Gallow, president of Local 153 of the Association of Pulp and Paper Workers Union, said. “Most of our members and our neighbors in Longview enjoy the local river. The fact that KapStone, which is owned by outside investors, is disrespecting Longview and its natural resources makes us angry."

The protesters said KapStone’s water-intake system is antiquated and poorly screened, and noted that the company’s water-pollution permit, though being renewed this year, expired years ago. They also take issue with the terms of the permit, which they said allowed too much pollution, does not address the discharge’s temperature and puts no limit on water use.

“Our rivers are a vital resource for all of us,” Sierra Club Senior Organizing Manager Kathleen Ridihalgh said. “They contribute to the local economy, and millions of us enjoy them for boating, fishing and other recreational activities. KapStone has acted irresponsibly and not followed the rules, harming endangered fish and our whole community.”

EPA Testimony Statements -- http://www.epa.gov/ocir/hearings/testimony/113_2013_2014/2013_2.htm.

Organizations in this story

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC - 20460

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