Press Release – Nepera March 23, 2000
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orange Environment, Inc. March 23, 2000
Contact: Michael R. Edelstein, President 914-294-0751
Orange Environment, Inc. today calls upon all involved agencies as well as Nepera to conduct a test of the potential response to the “worst case scenario” events from the Harriman plant. The company’s own risk assessment identifies a release of anhydrous ammonia as the worst case event for the plant. We would like to also see a modeling of all other potentially fatal adverse scenarios as well.
Parallel to the issues surrounding the Indian Point nuclear complex, where emergency response drills are practiced, the Nepera plant holds the potential to release hazardous and noxious chemicals to the air, reaching human receptors. In this instance, given the past history of releases of mostly pyridine-related substances, it is already established that:
- Release from the plant can and do happen, regardless of the management and protective systems instituted to date.
- These releases are detected by humans, and thus it is known that releases from the plant travel to where non-plant humans achieve exposure.
- Adverse somatic health effects have already been caused by such releases.
- Among affected receptors are school children in the huge adjacent complex, nearby residents, shoppers and employees of the Woodbury Common and other nearby business sites, travelers on the adjacent highway and road system, including those stopping to pay tolls, users of parks and outdoors facilities, and others to be identified.
- Experience to date suggests that protective actions are not easily achieved. Warnings are problematic, often arriving if they do at all after exposure. Evacuation or insulation of the public has not been easily achieved.
In short, the only saving grace to date has been that releases have largely involved substances that are not acutely toxic. The same does not hold were a worst case scenario event to occur. Under SARA Title 4, a framework is set forth by which companies disclose potential dangers and work with the community to create protective response procedures. While a great deal of thought and effort has already gone into the establishment of warning and response procedures for this plant, there has never been a full test addressing the actual consequences of worst case releases from the facility, how best to prevent them, and how to prepare to address them.
In fact, the crucial question remains: can a response system be put in place that will be protective for sensitive receptors should any category of worst case event occur at the Nepera plant?
We therefore call on Nepera, the DEC, the involved communities,and all related agencies involved in protection to create a full blown worst case scenario practice drill event, carefully monitored and evaluated, and to provide a full damage assessment for the scenario with a full consideration of the results for any future decisions about the plant.
In this regard, we also call upon Nepera to extend its current outside review of the pyridine production units mandated by the DEC settlement to the entire plant complex and to provide adequate funding for an independent evaluation of the plant to be done by the community.