More press conferences and information needed on IP explosion and cleanup

Residents, business owners and community leaders need more information and communication with International Paper about the Jan. 22 explosion at its Cantonment plant. The press releases and one press conference, where reporters were only allowed to ask four questions, aren’t cutting it.

The public needs to know what caused the explosion. We have heard the facility experienced power outages in the days leading up to the blast. The media has not been allowed on the property, and IP hasn’t released any photos of the damage.

The PNJ had a reporter tour the surrounding neighborhoods (Read “It’s like a fallout zone”). IP appears to be using the Ashton Hayward-Eric Olson communication method. Residents are being told different things, having trouble getting through to anyone on the hot line number.

The PNJ article shows people are having health issues, even though local health department chief, Dr. John Lanza, said at the press conference that the black liquor in yards and on roads, homes and vehicles posed no significant health risks.

Also we have learned that IP has put some residents in hotel rooms. Why haven’t all the residents been told that they don’t have to stay in their homes?

Questions continue to mount; health and environment concerns continue to exist.

More information and facts are needed.


1 thought on “More press conferences and information needed on IP explosion and cleanup

  1. Just a reminder for Escambia County residents. On September 8, 2003, in an article, “Water’s radium risk downplayed: ECUA officials kept their board, customers in the dark about threats” (in paid archive), the Pensacola News Journal had to bring in outside experts to assess the truth claims of the ECUA and the local Department of Health. A toxicologist from Western Michigan University called the ECUA statement “‘baloney.'” A nuclear physicist from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine called the ECUA statement “‘a complete misstatement.'” An epidemiologist from the University of North Carolina’s School of Public Health characterized the ECUA’s claims this way: “That’s the response of people who want to convince the public, ‘We know everything,’ which we don’t, and that you as a resident are irresponsible to be concerned about your water.”

    And, International Paper is the company that used highly questionable scientific studies (by its predecessor Champion), according to the 1999 Grand Jury report, and later scientific studies that were not peer-reviewed and have been privately ridiculed by federal scientists, to mask its destruction of Perdido Bay.

    The Grand Jury’s 1999 report (pages 28-29) called Champion’s scientific study by Dr Livingston “confusing and misleading.” The Grand Jury further found, “Scientists inside and outside of DEP found the Livingston Study contained numerous invalid comparisons, internal inconsistencies,and unsupported conclusions, as well as inconclusive data.”

    The federal government was also skeptical of the company’s science. According to the Grand Jury report, “EPA also noted that the study did not allow for determination of the impact of mill effluent on the upper bay, because
    Champion’s consultants did not place a monitoring station in the mid portion of the upper bay. This failure is thought to diminish the validity of any findings about the effects of mill effluent.”

    So, whatever claims International Paper and the local Department of Health now make, having outside experts with no financial ties to International Paper is a sound precaution. International Paper is a large employer in the area. It received large tax breaks from the county. And, when International Paper puts out press releases, the local media basically turn in to stenographers and report verbatim whatever International Paper claims.

    Skeptical of that claim? Read the October 30, 2014, article in “International Paper Announces $90 Million Reinvestment In Cantonment Mill.” Read the Pensacola News Journal’s October 29, 2014, article, “International Paper commits $90M to Pensacola mill.” But then read the Studer Community Institute’s October 29, 2014, article that went into greater depth on the tax breaks the company received from the county: “International Paper reinvests in Pensacola mill .”

    But, what you will not read in all three articles is how the paper mill destroyed Perdido Bay. International Paper has one overriding interest: minimize any liability settlement so that their investors will get a good return on investment. Wall Street is pressuring International Paper for greater returns. So, this is really about your health versus their profits and the ski vacation holidays for their investors.

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