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Brockovich joins battle as Stericycle issues denial
Oct 03, 2013 | 1381 views | 1 1 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST Erin Brockovich, second from right, walks with North Salt Lake residents and others on the way to a protest at Stericycle. Brockovich and her team of investigators are helping those who want to see the incinerator shut down or moved. 
Photo by Katie Mann | Davis Clipper
ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST Erin Brockovich, second from right, walks with North Salt Lake residents and others on the way to a protest at Stericycle. Brockovich and her team of investigators are helping those who want to see the incinerator shut down or moved. Photo by Katie Mann | Davis Clipper
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BY MELINDA WILLIAMS

Clipper Staff Writer

NORTH SALT LAKE — Environmental activist Erin Brockovich delivered the hard-hitting message Foxboro residents wanted to hear on Saturday — a message that they are not alone in their fight to shut down or move a medical waste facility from their community.

She and her investigative team then led the crowd on the short walk from the school to Stericycle, 90 N. 1100 West. Many carried signs like the one that read: “Stericycle: mercury, dioxins, pathogens, served hot daily.”

“I am here today to be your support, to be a cheerleader and to tell you positively without a shadow of doubt you are on the right track,” Brockovich told a standing-room-only crowd at Foxboro Elementary School.

Meanwhile, Stericycle’s attorneys  have released a statement denying it violated provisions of its air quality permit.

Stericycle  incinerates medical waste from seven western states and is the only facility of its type in the west. In May, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality issued a violation notice to the company for exceeding emission limits on nitrogen oxide, dioxins and other hazardous pollutants.

The company faces potential fines from the state’s Division of Air Quality for violations that occurred between December 2001 and April 2013, according to the division.

The Clipper has been unable to contact Stericycle. However, KUTV news is reporting the company is attempting to clear themselves of wrongdoing.

Stericycle’s attorneys released documents stating, “Stericycle has consistently maintained there was an error in the sampling and/or lab analysis, and that the results (of testing) are not valid because they are so far out of the typical range.”

An administrative judge will determine if the company will have to pay any fines.

Brockovich took on Pacific Gas and Electric Company in 1993 for contaminating groundwater in a small California town. Her story was later made into a movie. Since that initial fight, Brockovich has been among the leading voices nationwide for environmental causes. She’s seen the number of causes increase through the years.

“Something’s happening around the nation. People are standing up and using their voices,” in the fight for the environment, she said.

Time after time, the fight against companies that pollute “is led by one mom or several moms who reach out into the community,” she said, referring to Alicia Connell and Natasha Hincks, who started the group “Communities for Clean Air” in North Salt Lake.

That’s because mothers are generally the first to know if their family’s health is in jeopardy, she said.

“Stericycle should be renamed Poison Factory,”  Dr. Brian Moench, president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, told the gathering. “I know that sounds harsh, but there’s no other appropriate way to describe it.”

Moench said one millionth of a gram of some of the substances Stericycle releases into the atmosphere can cause cancer.

Robert Bowcock, a member of Brockovich’s investigative team, said the North Salt Lake plant initially applied for a permit to burn  approximately 1,300 pounds of waste per hour. Before the plant even opened, it applied to burn 1,850 pounds per hour, using the same equipment. Then, the amount the company asked to burn rose to 2,500 pounds per hour. “Now they’re burning about 100 percent more than they were originally designed for,” he said.

“You know in your heart and soul when something is wrong with your family and something is wrong with your child,” Brockovich said. “We have no business burning biohazardous waste on top of people.”

Brockovich and her team asked those attending the meeting to fill out a confidential questionnaire about their health, work, homes and lifestyles.

North Salt Lake has had some discussions with Stericycle about the possibilty of moving, Mayor Len Arave said. He told the gathering the city doesn’t have the resources to undertake requiring it to move or shut its doors. However, Arave said the city is working with state legislators on a solution and told the gathering he believes that’s the best approach.

mwilliams@davisclipper.com
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bobfoxboro
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October 03, 2013
And here we go... Do you notice how this is now all about Erin Brockovich? The nice ladies in Foxboro (and one very vocal one that doesn't live there) have all set this up nicely for other groups to swoop in and take the spotlight. This is all about money and who is going to make money off of the lawsuits that will surely start coming.

The little gathering at the Elementary school last Saturday was just a big advertisement and recruiting tool for Erin Brockovich's group of attorneys to scare the citizens and then get their information to start the lawsuits.

But, in the end, maybe Stericycle will end up moving way and the air around there will smell better - or everyone will just realize that it was the sewer treatment plant that was making the horrid smells all along.
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