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June 27, 1996

Contact: John P. Ximenes


Statement from the Alliance for Environmental Technology

In response to "Zeroing Out Dioxin in the Great Lakes: Within Our Reach," a report released today by the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems (CBNS), Douglas C. Pryke, Executive Director of the Alliance for Environmental Technology (AET), issued the following statement:

We're pleased that Barry Commoner and CBNS recognized the pulp and paper industry's successful virtual elimination strategy. This recognition is echoed by the International Joint Commission in a report released today which recognizes that the pulp and paper industry has made significant progress and is approaching the virtual elimination of dioxin by converting to Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF) technology based on chlorine dioxide.

We are disappointed, however, that despite CBNS' claims that "the public must learn what the experts know" they failed to put the pulp and paper industry's negligible contribution to Great Lakes dioxin loadings in perspective.

  • An earlier CBNS report estimated that other sources account for more than 99 percent of dioxin loadings to the Great Lakes.
  • The pollution prevention program implemented by the pulp and paper industry has yielded a rapid recovery of affected aquatic eco-systems in the Great Lakes Region. Fish consumption advisories for dioxin downstream of pulp and paper mills have been--and continued to be--lifted.
Despite the international consensus surrounding the successful virtual elimination of dioxin by ECF processes, CBNS asserts that the Great Lakes pulp and paper industry must convert to a totally chlorine-free process. By their own estimation, the industry would be unnecessarily saddled with a capital investment cost of up to $400 million, while incurring an additional annual operating burden of up to $60 million and predicted job losses. It is our belief that this expenditure is a poor use of important resources for no additional environmental benefit.

The industry's continuing commitment to environmental stewardship, market forces, and the anticipated US EPA Cluster Rules are driving the conversion to ECF processes. The switch is well underway and ensures continued environmental progress in the Great Lakes Region.


Note to Editors: the Alliance for Environmental Technology (AET) is an international association of 20 forest products companies and chemical manufacturers dedicated to improving the environmental performance of the pulp and paper industry. AET was created to establish a clearinghouse of educational and technical resources relating to chlorine dioxide and its use in chemical pulp bleaching.