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Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
BREDL Action Alerts



Wisconsin Tissue Mills Paper-recycling Facility Plans use of Sodium Hypochlorite

UPDATE: Georgia Pacific Corporation and the parent company of Wisconsin Tissue Chesapeake Corporation announced June 26, 1999 their intention to combine their tissue supply business. Georgia-Pacific Group will control and manage the partnership and is expected to own approximately 90 percent of the equity of the partnership. Chesapeake will contribute the assets of its Wisconsin Tissue business to the partnership, for which it will receive a 10 percent interest in the partnership and an initial cash distribution of approximately $730 million. As a result the Wisconsin Tissue Plant project in Halifax County, NC has been put on hold. At the end of May, Wisconsin Tissue had announced their intention not to use chlorine based chemicals at the Halifax facility. On June 28, Wisconsin Tissue withdrew the permit applications and EIS currently under review by NC DENR.

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Wisconsin Tissue Mills plans to locate a paper-recycling facility on the Roanoke River in Halifax County, NC. They are planning to use sodium hypochlorite, a chlorine derivative for bleaching. Chlorine bleaching causes the formation of dioxins and furans which are endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. Dioxins and furans have been shown to have detrimental effect on fish and wildlife world-wide. There are viable alternatives that are more costly at the outset, but that would require less water useage, be safer for workers and the environment.

In addition, their process will require deinking which will result in heavy metal contamination to the sludge by-product as well as dioxins.

Chloroform, a known carcinogen and ozone depleter will be emitted in large amounts. The USEPA is in the process of developing new rules which will restrict or eliminate sodium hypochlorite use at all mills. Phase l (virgin pulp mills) was promulgated in April of 1998. Phases ll (secondary fiber deinking mills, such as Wisconsin Tissue) and Phase lll (dissolving mills) are in process, with the emphasis on Phase lll. Wisconsin Tissue is attempting to slip in under old rules, which are not protective of public health and the environment.

The Roanoke River may well be one of the most important spawning areas in North Carolina, particularly in the area of the proposed mill. The striped bass or rockfish has been restored to health only by many millions of taxpayer dollars and limits on commercial and recreational fisherman. There are also many subsistence fishermen (and women) along the Roanoke.

The effects of a damaged fishery in the Roanoke will be felt throughout the region, as commercial and recreational fisherman are vital to local economies.

NC ACT, a local organization which opposes Wisconsin Tissue's plan to use a chlorine derivative, has numerous concerns relative to this siting and has asked that the company be required to perform an Environmental Impact Study (EIS), and a  Health Risk Assessment (HRA) considering the cumulative impacts of  persistent organochlorines on public health and the environment.

Please contact Wisconsin Tissue and demand that they use a chlorine free process and willingly perform an EIS and and HRA.

E-mail Jeff Johnson at Wisconsin Tissue Mills

Please call Governor Hunt and ask that he require Wisconsin Tissue to perform an EIS and to process their fiber chlorine free. Remind him that it's a "Smart Start" for North Carolina.

Call Governor Hunt at: 1-800-662-7952


For more information contact: BREDL's Therese Vick (252) 539-2728

Also please see NC ACT May 21, 1999 Press Release: State and Federal Agencies Criticize Wisconsin Tissue Environmental Assessment