Action Alert: Challenge Fox River PCB
Your letters are needed!
We must challenge the recent settlement proposed
for Georgia-Pacific Corporation to pay $14.5 million as
compensation for the severe PCB contamination of
the Fox River and Green
Bay in Northeast Wisconsin
and Upper Michigan.
This is only a slightly higher settlement
than the failed proposal made last year, which was rejected.
Now, however, the Bush Administration appears to
have neutered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service and NOAA, who had been our champions on
this issue under the Clinton
feds are actually signing on to this
Please click here for action alert
If you're short on time, you can print
and send this ready-made letter
(due by August 3):
Here's a short list of our objections:
settlement is only 20% of Georgia-Pacific's 22% share
of the $333 million
which the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reported was
the minimal compensation
due to the public. The
$333 was a very conservative figure which did not include several
major factors of economic
losses due to PCBs. G-P
should pay $73 million at a minimum.
$73 million is already a seriously compromised
is the first of 7 settlements with the corporations responsible
for dumping PCBs in the system.
It sets a terrible precedent.
The other corporations will demand equal sweetheart
deals. If this
happens, the public could see a total compensation
of only about $65 million,
which would be outrageously low.
surprise settlement is premature.
Next month, the
governments are due to announce 2 major plans.
The final Restoration Plan will set the groundrules for how all the
compensation dollars should be spent, from all the companies. The Record of Decision by EPA will be the final
plan on how strong the PCB sediment cleanup will be. The public shouldn't be expected to comment
on G-P's individual settlement until we know the big picture plans the settlement should fit in to.
too much of this settlement is for human park and recreation
enhancements. According to extensive public surveys a few
years ago by the
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the public placed highest
priority on spending compensation dollars to stop
toxicity. Second highest
priority was to protect and enhance fisheries and wildlife habitat. Third
highest were projects to stop land run-off pollution. Only a very distant fourth were human recreational
enhancements. The money
needs to be spent following the public's priorities.
5. Northern communities are neglected All of the recreation dollars are targeted
for Brown County
communities only, where Georgia- Pacific
are planned for Door, Oconto, or Marinette
Counties, or for Upper Michigan
communities on the northern Bay, which also have serious PCB fish-eating warnings and wildlife
injuries due to Fox
River pollution. If recreation is the
goal, then the northern people should have equal access to these recreation
dollars. In addition, all the land purchases for wildlife habitat
are on the Bay's westshore,
with nothing for the eastshore, Michigan
or Door County, though most of the Bay's PCBs are concentrated
up the Door
6. Inflated settlement dollars. Several discrepancies appear between last year's proposed dollar values and this
year's in the settlement
details. For example, last year's land acquisition value
for the Peshtigo
Marsh property was much lower than this year's high land
363 more acres of land were added to this year's
settlement, but the dollar values rose by $5 million. This equals
$13,774 per acre added, which does not seem reasonable
for wetlands with no development potential. This must be investigated and corrected, if
faulty. The public
is owed a full $73 million, not to be achieved through
inflating the value of the settlement projects.
7. This sets a bad precedent nationwide. The Fox River Natural Resources Damage Assessment is one of the biggest
and best researched cases in the country. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service spent
$10 million over 7 years to write it, using more than
80 world- class experts to research and write extensive
documents regarding PCB
damages to the fisheries and wildlife of the region.
Polluters and regulators
are watching this case very closely. If a super-documented case like ours can be ignored and compromised
away, then the other cases
to come will suffer too. (Kalamazoo
On the other hand, if we make the documentation
stick and hold firm on
the damage figures, this could set a positive precedent.
Your letters will be shared with the
federal judge (a good one!) who must approve the settlement.
He can order the negotiators to go back and correct
Send your letter today!