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Pulp Mill Requests 12,200,000 Pounds Annual Increase in Air Pollution
 

 
 

The Brunswick Cellulose Pulp Mill has increased air pollution through two recent permit modifications by 1098 Tons Per Year.  Currently, Brunswick Cellulose has submitted a third request for an air permit modification to GA-EPD requesting an additional 5000+ Tons Per Year increase in air pollution in our community. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division in a preliminary determination said they do approve of the requested air permit.

   The total increase in air pollution for the three air permit modification requests will be in excess of 6100 Tons Per Year, or 12,200,000 pounds per year.  In other words, Brunswick Cellulose wants to add another 33,500 pounds of pollution into Brunswick's air every day.
 

 
 

Koch Industries, the purchaser of the Georgia-Pacific Pulp and Paper Mill does not have a good environmental history company-wide, which should raise concerns about our community's future.  The current pulp mill management is not the same as the one that made significant progress in reducing pulp mill pollution during the 1990's.

   The Port Authority and Development Authority should be watching these increases in air pollution from the Pulp Mill because it could be a threat to the Port of Brunswick and other recent investments on the Brunswick Peninsula.  Much work went into getting International Auto Processors (IAP) to relocate from Jacksonville to the Port of Brunswick.  We must not forget that they came here to escape the air pollution in Jacksonville.  Brunswick could be at risk for the same fate as Jacksonville since the increases will be to chemicals that can damage car paint finishes.
 

   
 

The GEC recommends that Port Authority and Development Authority and other agencies charged with economic development in Glynn County protect our local economy by the following actions:

 1. Increases in air pollution can have economically destructive consequences.  The local agencies charged with economic development should ask the GA-EPD for an independent study of the implications of the proposed Pulp Mill air permit to IAP operations and other Port of Brunswick business.  Furthermore, significant investments have been made recently on the economically depressed Brunswick Peninsula, which could be stymied by a reversal in our recent successes in reducing air pollution.

 2. Brunswick currently has an odor problem, yet no definitive study has been done to locate the sources and identify potential solutions.  A study is needed to investigate the current odor problems before any more air permits are issued by the GA-EPD that significantly increase pollution and the resulting odors.  This study should quantify the economic impact of odors on key industries such as tourism.

 3. Brunswick  and Glynn County currently do not have an odor ordinance.  The City and County Commissions should explore an odor ordinance to complement the no burning policy in the City.

    The current air permit request should be withdrawn until the above studies have been completed by a party independent of the Pulp Mill and Georgia EPD.  Potential technologies to meet the desired goals of the Pulp Mill, Port Authority, Development Authority, the City of Brunswick, and Glynn County should be identified.

The implications of the air permit request and associated increase in pollution and pulp and paper production have implications beyond air quality such as water usage, waste water treatment, and waste management.

- Floridan Aquifer Water Use: There is no information about the resulting increase in water usage from the Floridan Aquifer and potential to make the saltwater intrusion problem worse on the Brunswick Peninsula from the increase in production at the Pulp Mill.  Georgia is currently developing a statewide Water Management Plan and any increases in water use should be limited until the plan is completed.  The City of Brunswick has already abandoned several municipal wells due to salt water intrusion at great expense to the taxpayers.  Water use issues need to be resolved prior to an air permit being issued which would, in essence, be a GA-EPD approval of the proposed increase in Pulp Mill production.

- Waste Water Treatment:  The Pulp Mill is currently injecting oxygen into their effluent discharges in Turtle River.  The increase in production can reasonably be expected to increase waste water discharged.  The Pulp Mill should demonstrate that they can accommodate water treatment on the plant site before any increase in production, and before approving any Air Permits to increase production.

- Solid Waste Management Plan:  Wastes from the Pulp Mill are currently being piled high on a marsh hammock, changing the skyline in Brunswick and areas surrounding Turtle River.  A Solid Waste Management Plan should be part of any plan to increase production.

   Ultimately, the first step is for our community to be aware of what is happening very quietly around us and in EPD offices in Atlanta.  To be unaware is  threatening to our health, quality of life, and the economic future of Glynn County

 

 

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