Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Poison Leeching into Lake Erie at the Former IP Site


By the way, I got a kick out of how the golf course that you mentioned in the previous blog was once a waste site. Shows me that former waste sites can be re-zoned and improved.

And speaking of waste sites, Hammermill (International Paper) was supposed to correct the environmental degradation on the south side of East Lake Road. Sadly, the field is leeching waste into the storm sewer and directly into Lake Erie (see photo below, taken under the viaduct on East Lake Road in July 2008).

To make matters worse, whoever bought that property cut down all the trees, so there isn't much hope that the soil will be anything more than waste for the foreseeable future.

So, who gets away with degrading the environment for profit? IP. Who loses? The people of Erie, who watch helplessly as the lake continues to be polluted even as IP is nothing but a memory.

And by the way, my Mom and Dad bought their house in 1958, before Hammermill went on its destructive environmental run.

I think people are starting to learn to put environmental issues ahead of so called "development"...development that profits a few while the remainder of the community suffers.

After all, what good are "profits" if your kids can't swim in the lake and the fish have tumors on them? Ask China. They're learning about the real costs of out-of-control manufacturing.



Ralph said...


The battle of technological advancements vs. environmental preservation has always been an interesting one. Yesterday, we had this guys in town from ELF who holds some interesting views on that topic.

I will say that Soup's recommended reading of the book Guns, Germs, and Steel, changed my opinion somewhat on this topic. The book doesn't necessarily defend destroying the environment in favor of technological advancement, but it does note that societies that don't advance as fast technologically have historically been overrun by those that are have made certain technological gains faster. I mean the native Americans were great a protecting the environment and look what it got them.

Also, why do you say the 'Mill was not on an environmentally destructive run prior to 1958?



DrD said...

Wait a minute. Did I say that technological improvements are not important? I don't think so. I'm suggesting that they need to be balanced within the notion of sustainability.

Burning 30 million tires each year (a number that a number of experts say is "impossible") does not seem like a sustainable plan, at least in my book. Too many toxins (not to mention the potential loss of Curtze).

Wind energy? Sustainable.
Solar energy? Sustainable.
Ethanol? I don't know the details, but it seems more sustainable than oil or tire burning.

So, when it comes to technology, let's inverst in and promote clean, sustainable sources of energy. Tire burning is not on that list, as far as I can tell.

Speakingo of books, there is another book, called The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlilght (

It talks about the notion that--for the long history of humankind--people lived on "current" sunlight. In other words, the people of Earth would follow the natural patterns of the sun, and not the artifical patterns of carbon-powered energy.

Since the Industrial Revolution and the Oil Boom, however, we have been living on "stored" or "ancient" sunlight, which is eventually going to run out.

So what is our plan to sustain life on this planet? Burn tires? Generate profits for Greg Rubino? It's got to be larger than that.

As far as ELF sabotaging trees in order to prevent road building, that's out of hand. Always abide by the credo: Do no harm.

I understand that the ELF movement feels that the Earth needs to be defended, but the Earth can defend itself, even if it means wiping out the human race in order to survive.

DrD said...

Oh yes. Sorry I was less than clear about my Mom and Dad buying the house in 1958.

My point is that the role of Hammermill as a major polluter was not understood by the public in 1958, at least according to my Mom and Dad. They knew Hammermill was there, but they didn't know about the tumors on the fish and the crusty foam on Lake Erie.

I think the the impact of pollution, in general, was not very well understood in the 1950s. The Earth seemed big enough to handle it.

Silent Spring, for example, wasn't written until 1962.

Then, it wasn't until the 1970s that people started to realize the horribly destructive aspects of paper making, in particular.

Drive through Johnsonburg, PA some time and you'll see [and smell] the Domtar paper plant. It's nasty.

So, I'm saying that my Mom and Dad didn't move into their house with the full knowledge of Hammermill's polluting capacity. Neither did most of the neighbors, many of whom are still there.

In contrast, if you bought a house there in the last 30 years, you should have known the risks. I'll give you that.


DrD said...

From Joseph Campbell: "
Technology is not going to save us. Our computers, our tools, our machines are not enough. We have to rely on our intuition, our true being" (The Power of Myth, xiv).

That's why I aruge that technology alone will not save us. It must be balanced with an intuitive sense of sustainability and accountability.


Ralph said...

I hate to come off like I'm defending this tires-to-energy/tire burning thing or whatever it is, but the fact is that we have a lot of tires we need to get rid of, and turning them into energy seems ever economical and ecological. Now,I'm not certain what the side effects are and maybe they're worse for the environment than burying the tires in a landfill, but still, at least this represents an effort at making something positive (energy) out of a useless pollutant (old tires.) And I think the environmental people should at least applaud the concept, and maybe help come up with an alternative strategy, instead of just flat out bucking these guys. Just a thought.

As far as the stuff about sunlight, funny, I was watching MFN last week, and the Giants were the home team. They showed a night time shot of NYC and all the lit up buildings. I turned to the guy sitting next to me and said, "Geez, how much electricity do you think is being used right now?" It seemed like kind of a waste, but, to get back to my point about the advantages of technology, NYC is one of the most powerful cities in the world.

It's a conundrum.


DrD said...

That's the whole thing, Ralph. They are already recycling tires.

If you read the article in the Times-News from last week, it talks about how they are making rubber mats for playgrounds and various other kinds of things with old tires. They shred them and make stuff.

You don't need to burn them.

I have to run, but I'll dig into this more and report back. You might be able to find the article yourself from last week. The reporter interviewed several people who do this for a living.


Ralph said...

Alright. Sounds good. I'll keep my eyes open for similar types of info on tire recycling. I guess one question that needs to be answered in this, is how big of an environmental problem are old tires currently. If it's not a big deal, then that's clearly a weight in the balance against construction of this plant.



DrD said...

From what I've been reading, they've done a tremendous job at cleaning up the tire waste sites.