Mon 10/28/2019 Sign onto letter re Inadequate Rayonier Pulp Mill Cleanup Plan

This just in! If you have time this morning to sign onto the comment letter — NOON MONDAY OCTOBER 28, 2019, please send your name and address to the email address below (if signing for an organization, include organization name and your title).

Support our neighbors in Port Angeles in their ongoing effort to get a “responsible” pulp mill owner to clean up responsibly after shuttering the mill.

Cover letter 10-28-2019 OEC et al to WA Ecology re Rayonier Cleanup

Attachment: Analysis of Ecy’s Proposed Cleanup of former Rayonier pulp mill site in Port Angeles WA Oct 2019

============ Forwarded message ============
From: Darlene Schanfald <darlenes AT olympus DOT net>
Date: Sat, 26 Oct 2019
Subject: SIGN ON’s to Ecology letter Due Monday, 10/28, NOON re: Rayonier Mill proposed cleanup plan
============ Forwarded message ============

A priority MTCA cleanup site for WA State Ecology is the Rayonier Pulp Mill that operated as a chlorine-based mill for nearly seven decades.  It closed May 1997.  The mill is situated over the Port Angeles Harbor in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.   EPA’s newly instituted Toxic Release Inventories, from 1990-94, ranked this Rayonier mill No.1 for releasing the most toxic air and water pollutants in WA State, including cancer-causing substances, and large amounts of hazardous emissions continued until its closing in 1997.

Send me your signature for the letter sign-on by NOON Monday, October 28 if you want Rayonier to clean up rather than cover up its Puget Sound hazardous waste.  Comments are due October 28, 2019.

If you will sign, just send me your name and address.  If signing for a group, include your position, as well.

Thank you for considering.

Join in telling Ecology it must make Rayonier clean up its pollution and not walk away after dumping sand over the “hot spots.”  We haven’t waited 22 years to give Rayonier a “walk out of Port Angeles practically free.”  That is unacceptable.

Or write your own letter to:

Marian Abbett, P.D.

Toxics Cleanup Program, Southwest Regional Office

WA State Department of Ecology

PO Box 47600, Olympia WA  98504

Email:  mabb AT ecy DOT wa DOT gov


Provided below is a very brief history of this issue and a map of what Rayonier has thus far agreed to clean up; an attachment of the technical review of Rayonier’s documents by Dr. Peter DeFur, technical advisor to the OEC Coalition (and to the Duwamish, Portland Harbor and many other sites across the U.S.); and the sign-on letter.



The US EPA Toxics Release Inventory ranked the chlorine-based Port Angeles Rayonier Pulp Mill WA State’s worst air, land and water polluter in 1988 and for the next two years.  It ranked this mill the 17th worst mill polluter in the nation.

When Rayonier announced it would close the mill in 1997, the Olympic Environmental Council (OEC) formed a coalition of western WA environmental organizations and local citizens to ensure the company would clean up its extensive hazardous wastes that were dumped in three landfills and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and contaminated upland soils throughout Port Angeles City and beyond.  These wastes ranged from dioxins/furans, PCBs, PAHs, heavy metals, phenols, woody debris, and other.

This Coalition was successful in petitioning the USEPA Region 10 to investigate Rayonier properties.  A massive sampling and analysis of the Port Angeles Harbor, the mill site and of two landfills were undertaken.  All ranked high enough for the Superfund National Priority List.  EPA chose to list only the mill-harbor area.

Before EPA could move on this, local businesses, the City of Port Angeles, the Clallam County Economic Development, the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and others met with Governor Gary Locke and District 24  Legislator Lynne Kessler and they, together with Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Norm Dicks, pressed EPA to transfer cleanup oversight to Ecology.  This state agency had already told Rayonier it could list its own pollution and turn in a report to Ecology, as it had done when it closed its Hoquiam mill in 1994.  How would it look for Rayonier’s investors and the City of Port Angeles to have a Superfund site?!

Whereas EPA thought it could cleanup the Port Angeles area in nine years, Ecology claimed it could do it in seven years.  The public wanted EPA to do the cleanup.  But politics prevailed.  And though it would be cleaned up under MTCA, it was not given to the Toxics Cleanup Program, which citizens pressed for.

Seven years passed with little to show. In 2007, with the coming aboard of the Puget Sound Partnership, the Rayonier site was transferred to the Toxics Cleanup Program and became a priority cleanup site. Now, twelve years after the oversight transfer, we just received Rayonier’s draft proposed cleanup options of the sediment, soils and groundwater with approval from Ecology — a coverup, not a cleanup via the next-to-cheapest removal options.   These options leave most pollutants (“hot spots”) in place to be covered with sand, and require monitoring and ongoing management for an unknown period of years, and rely on institutional controls such as signs and fencing, yet expose the public by allowing them access to the contaminated site twice weekly.

Darlene Schanfald

Olympic Environmental Council

Project Coordinator,

Rayonier Mill-Port Angeles Harbor  Hazardous Waste Cleanup Project

PO Box 2664, Sequim WA  98382




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