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O'Neill L., AK

I have a liver disease and am sensitive to toxins in the air, especially those generated by a local paper mill. When the air is foul, I don't feel well.

The mill also has subsidies to burn black liquor, construction waste, other debris and wood chips. Now the mill is working toward generating power, which will only heighten this pollution problem by increasing diesel truck traffic and channeling more barges of chips and other biomass materials to the mill. The end result will be more burning and more pollution in our air, water and soil.

There already are toxins in the smoke, in the ash pile and in the millpond. I have read evidence that our air, water and soil are adversely impacted. In addition, there is already a high level of asthma in children and adults, and we have a high level of cancer in our town.

Yet, we don’t have adequate monitors for early warnings about what is spewing out of the stacks. The first warning we get is when we don't feel well. Because there are jobs at the mill, some folks are reluctant to join in efforts to require better air quality.

First published: April 30, 2013

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