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Weyerhaeuser Company

Weyerhauser Company: Public Comments on Draft FPA

Public Comments on Weyerhaeuser FPA

Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. Committee on Agriculture

Second District Georgia Subcommittees:

Democratic____at-Large Risk Management and Specialty Crops

Washington: Department Operations, Nutrition

1632 Longworth Building and Foreign Agriculture

Washington, D.C. 20515-1032 CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Phone: (202) 225-3831 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Subcommittee:

Fax: (202) 226-2203 WASHINGTON, D.C. 20515-1002 Hospitals and Health Care

November 13, 1996

Ms. Michele Glenn

Weyerhaeuser Project XL Lead


Waste Management Division - 10th Floor

100 Alabama Avenue, S.W.

Atlanta, GA 30303-3104

Dear Ms. Glenn:
We are writing in response to your request for comments on a draft Final Project Agreement (FPA) recently published in the Federal Register for a pilot project at the Weyerhaeuser Company's Flint River Operations mill in Oglethorpe, Georgia. This FPA has been developed as part of Project XL, which was initiated last year to "devise and test more flexible approaches that result in both better environmental results and reduced compliance costs."

We commend EPA, the state of Georgia, Weyerhaeuser and all affected stakeholders for their efforts to assure that this project succeeds in achieving both superior environmental performance and innovative regulatory approaches. Under the proposal, the Flint River Operations mill would produce demonstrably superior environmental results, including: significant reductions in waste water effluent volume; more stringent water pollution limits; reducing solid waste generation by approximately 7,500 tons per year; reducing raw water demand; and implementing an enhanced environmental management system. At the same time, the mill would be granted regulatory flexibility for certain programs under the Clean Air Act, including flexible approaches for PSD permitting and developing innovative approaches to controlling hazardous air pollutants.

We understand that this FPA has the support of numerous stakeholders, including EPA, the state of Georgia, Weyerhaeuser, the Lake Blackshear Watershed Association, the City of Oglethorpe, the City of Montezuma, the Macon Correctional Institution, and the Macon County Local Emergency Panning committee. As members of the Georgia Congressional delegation, we also want to register our support for this effort. EPA's Project XL initiative enjoys bipartisan support (including specific language in support of the program from the House Appropriations Committee), and we are pleased that one of the first CL proposals to be issued for public comment is happening in Georgia. We look forward to finalization of the agreement and successful implementation of this project.

Thank you for your consideration of our views.

Sincerely yours,

Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.

Sam Nunn

Sandy Chambliss

Nathan Deal

John Lewis

Cynthia McKinney

Bob Barr

Paul Coverdell

Newt Gingrich

Mac Collins

Jack Kingston

John Linder

Charlie Norwood


P.O. BOX 425

Office of Mayor 113 ________ STREET Telephone: (912) 472-6485


Michelle Glenn

Weyerhaeuser Project XL Lead

U.S. EPA, Waste Management Division, 10th Floor

Atlanta Federal Center

100 Alabama Avenue, S.W.

Atlanta, GA 30303

Dear Ms. Glenn:

In representing Oglethorpe, Georgia in the capacity of Mayor, I am in support of Weyerhaeuser's Flint River Project XL. My association with Weyerhaeuser goes back to when they located here in 1978. The Flint River Plant was constructed with the latest environmental compliance record and has been awarded on numerous times for their air and water quality. The Georgia Chamber of Commerce has recently awarded them to be the 1996 Water Protection Citizen of the Year.

I have been actively involved in the Weyerhaeuser's Flint River Operations XL Program since it began. Having to comply with EPA regulations in my business and with the city has made me acutely aware that while we need to protect the environment another method other than the strict 1, 2, 3 step method needs to be developed.

Since the Weyerhaeuser's Flint River Mill intends to continue going beyond their regulatory requirements, and as an incentive for their level of superior performance the benefits from this project will be continued superior environmental results.

We attest our support for this program.


Gerald B. Beckum






TELEPHONE: (912) 472-7021

FAX (912) 472-5643


Charles W. Allen, Chairman OFFICERS:

Marvin Joiner, Vice-Chairman

Glen Lee Chase, Member Roselyn H. Starling, Clerk

Richmond Felton, Member Jon L. Coogle, Attorney

Roosevelt James, Member November 13, 1996

Michelle M. Glenn

Weyerhaeuser Project XL Lead

U.S. EPA, Waste Division, 10th Floor

Atlanta Federal Center

100 Alabama Avenue, S.W.

Atlanta, GA 30303

Dear Ms. Glenn:

Weyerhaeuser's Flint River Operations is a good corporate citizen who has been located in Macon County since 1978. The plant employs about 450 persons from the Middle Georgia area and has an annual payroll of $20 MM. Yearly plant donations to the surrounding communities support United Way campaigns, Georgia Southwestern College, the Macon County Emergency Planning Commission, area Literacy Programs, Habitat for Humanity, and recreational programs, to mention a few. Flint River was constructed with state-of-the-art environmental equipment and regular investments have helped to keep the plant on the leading edge of technology in the pulp making industry. The plant has had an outstanding environmental compliance record and has been used to set environmental standards by the U.S. EPA. Georgia EPD for the pulp and paper industry. Based on this, I can see why Weyerhaeuser is the first forest products industry in the nation to be accepted into the XL program.

As part of the XL program, community stakeholders were invited to participate in the Final Project Agreement (FPA) development. Weyerhaeuser has worked with EPA, Georgia EPD, Georgia Pollution Prevention Assistance Division, Lake Blackshear Watershed Association, to develop this FPA. Weyerhaeuser's Flint River Mill intends to continue to perform beyond regulatory requirements by continuing to evolve Minimum Impact Manufacturing (a holistic approach to pollution prevention) intend to provide more flexible and cost effective processes for regulatory management. The anticipated benefits from this project include continued superior environmental results while improving the ability of the mill to meet customer demands.

On behalf of the Commissioners of Macon County, I have been actively involved in the development of the Final Project Agreement and concur with the level of regulatory flexibility in the FPA.

I feel that Weyerhaeuser's Flint River Operations plays a very important role in Macon County and I wholeheartedly support their request to be included in the Project XL Program.


Charles W. Allen








(202) 387-3500

FAX: 202-234-6049

November 14, 1996

Ms. Michelle M. Glenn

Weyerhaeuser Project XL Head


Waste Management Division - 10th Floor

100 Alabama Avenue, S.W.

Atlanta, GA 30303-3104

Re: Comments on the draft Project XL Final Project Agreement developed for the Weyerhaeuser Flint River Operations pulp mill

Dear Ms. Glenn:

We appreciate the opportunity to comment on the draft Project XL Final Project Agreement developed for the Weyerhaeuser Flint River Operations pulp mill (referred to herein as the "Weyerhaeuser FPA"). While we support efforts to achieve superior environmental performance, engage the public, and reduce the burdens of complying with environmental regulations, certain conditions must be met in order for Project XL initiatives to credibly accomplish these purposes. Project XL proposals should demonstrate environmental leadership including mechanisms to:

extend meaningful opportunities to participate in environmental decisions to facility neighbors, workers, and others directly affected by pollution, and enhance access by other stakeholders such as state or national environmental groups;

maximize the amount and quality of information regarding environmental performance that is available as part of efforts to streamline reporting; and

ensure that each site is substantially more protective of the environment than what would result from compliance with standard regulatory requirements, and that continuous innovation is built into environmental management.

By following these principles, Project XL agreements will provide companies with increased flexibility to comply with environmental regulations and achieve superior environmental performance.

The Weyerhaeuser FPA offers superior environmental performance for effluent and solid waste discharges, and successfully balances increased flexibility with long-term environmental protection for the release of hazardous air pollutants. As currently proposed, however, the shift from monthly reporting to annual certification of compliance for the NPDES permit appears to reduce the amount of information available to the public. We also oppose the proposed facility-based cap for criteria air pollutants, because it will result in less environmental protection than minimum levels of compliance with existing regulations.

The FPA must provide a more explicit description of how the public will access information regarding the environmental performance of the mill.

The current proposal to replace monthly Discharge Monitoring Reports with annual certification of compliance appears to reduce the amount of publicly available information on the mill's performance. The FPA does not explain how Weyerhaeuser intends to respond to public requests for such information. Will interested parties submit requests to the mill or will they have to visit the mill to obtain this information? Responding to requests or information may not reduce the administrative burden that mill employees currently experience in preparing reports for EPA. The latter option violates two of the core principles described above by significantly restricting access to environmental information and by isolating decision-making solely at the local level. Local stakeholders should have enhanced access to information, but the resources to identify what information is important or to interpret the information often come from outside the community. Non-local stakeholders also may have important interests to protect in addition to local community impacts such as cross-jurisdictional pollution and environmental policy precedents.

Weyerhaeuser can remedy this situation by identifying less burdensome methods of making information on the mill's environmental performance more accessible to the public. One alternative is to provide monthly updates on the World Wide Web of the thirty parameters that Weyerhaeuser intends to monitor. This would increase the access to the information without imposing an undue burden on mill staff since they are already collecting this information.

The proposed "facility emissions cap" for criteria air pollutants does not maintain current levels of environmental protection.

While we can support under appropriate conditions the shift from an equipment to a facility-based cap in order to increase the mill's flexibility in achieving compliance, we cannot support the proposed cap, because it will significantly increase the release of criteria air pollutants from the mill. Under the existing regulation, maximum allowable emissions of criteria air pollutants are based on the actual emissions rate of the equipment and the maximum production capacity of the mill. The allowable levels represent a theoretical release of air pollutants because no mill operates at full capacity every day of the year. These levels are also based on the current equipment in use at the mill. Thus, the current regulations effectively set compliance levels at the actual releases of these pollutants. The proposed facility emissions cap maintains the allowable levels, but removes the constraint that prevents any physical or process changes at the mill. The mill may release criteria air pollutants above the existing compliance levels as a result of this change.

Weyerhaeuser, EPA and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division may address this situation by adopting a different approach to setting the facility emissions cap. Setting a cap that takes into account the projected reduction in air pollution that would result from installing new equipment and any changes in production capacity would provide the Flint River mill with the flexibility it seeks while maintaining the current level of environmental protection.

In addition to these issues, the Natural Resources Defense Council has raised important concerns in their comments regarding the approach to MACT provisions, air monitoring provisions, excess emissions reports and their lack of air emission reporting in the FPA.

EPA needs to address the issues raised in this letter to ensure that superior environmental performance is achieved along with the increased compliance flexibility sought by Weyerhaeuser. We thank you again for the opportunity to comment on this draft FPA.

Yours Truly,

Lauren Blum, Ph.D. Kevin Mills

Senior Scientist Senior Attorney





202 289-6868

FAX 202 289-1060

November 14, 1996

BY FACSIMILE 404 562-8628

Ms. Michelle M. Glenn

Weyerhaeuser Project XL Lead


Region 4

100 Alabama Avenue

(Waste Division, 10th floor)

Atlanta, GA 30303

Re: Weyerhaeuser Project XL Final Project Agreement

Dear Ms. Glenn:

Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments on the Weyerhaeuser Project XL Final Project Agreement (FPA) and for EPA's agreement to accept our comments on November 14 rather than the originally established date of November 7, 1996.

In general, NRDC believes that while a number of the actions described in the FPA are desirable from an environmental standpoint, they do not justify the particular waivers of existing requirements that are set forth in the FPA. Our principal concerns relate to the following provisions:

elimination of NPDES DMR reporting with information on discharges to be available only by visits to the plant;

exemption of future physical changes at certain equipment from PSD permitting requirements;

inadequate provisions relating to alternative MACT compliance;

lack of criteria for accepting surrogate or parametric air emissions monitoring in lieu of performance testing;

reduction in requirements for excess emission reporting;

lack of reporting provisions for air releases.

These provisions have sufficient defects that it would be difficult to conclude the FPA achieves superior environmental performance, even if it were shown that these provisions were essential to the achievement of the environmentally beneficial elements of the FPA. However, a further basic defect with the FPA is that none of the above provisions has been shown to be needed in order to allow the environmentally beneficial activities to proceed.

I. DMR Reports

The justification for eliminating these reports is that the facility has a lengthy history of compliance with its NPDES limits. While this is commendable, we do not understand the need to eliminate this stream of information. XL projects should provide more information not less. We would support proposals to modify DMR report elements to make them more relevant and informative and to provide for transmission in a manner that maximizes convenience for both the facility and report users (e.g., electronic posting on a publicly available Internet site). We assume facility managers must review reports to assure that the facility is complying with its limits and do not understand why it is an unreasonable burden to make these same reports available in a convenient fashion. Requiring interested persons to travel to the facility to inspect these records is not a reasonable approach.

II. PSD Exemptions

The FPA contemplates the creation of a broad exemption from PSD permitting requirements through an amendment to the facility's existing air permit. The exemption (set forth in Appendix Six of the FPA) would allow the facility to modify equipment in ways that would increase actual emissions of 6 regulated air pollutants in major amounts over baseline (1992-1994) releases without undergoing any permit review or any requirement to apply improved emission reduction practices.

The PSD exemptions are conditioned on a showing that certain equipment at the facility will not exceed specified caps: four identified "major" sources are subject to one set of pollutant-specific caps; all other sources at the facility are subject to a separate set of caps. The caps are not separately enforceable emissions limits; rather they are benchmarks, which if not forecast to be exceeded, would entitle the facility the facility to provided with modifications without any further review. The proposed language does not specify that there would be any consequence if these caps were in fact exceeded following the modifications. The exemption for the four specified major sources is not available for physical modifications to those sources but is available for changes in methods of operation.

The FPA states that the purpose of these exemptions is to avoid "paperwork" reviews, implying that the exemptions will have no real-world environmental adverse effects. We do not agree. The exemptions will allow large actual increases (hundreds of tons per year) in emissions of harmful regulated air pollution that would be avoided if the exemptions were not available. The facility's baseline emissions are not set forth in the FPA. However, based on a 1995 permit application submitted by the facility, the baseline emissions of pollutants addressed by the caps appear to be as set forth in Table A below.


50.91 25.71 64.41 1688.89 224.14 213.55 746.47 771.10
Baseline 379.22 289.11 11.16 295.19 14.00 14.00 0.00 0.00
430.13 314.82 75.57 1984.08 364.14 227.55 746.47 771.10


In contrast, under FPA, the caps for these pollutants allow significantly higher emissions, as set forth in Table B below.


CAP Major 75 no cap 35 2170 394 no cap 839 1260
CAP Other 703 no cap 27 346 195 no cap 40 40
CAP Total 703 no cap 62 2516 589 no cap 879 1300


As can be seen, the cap levels are substantially higher than baseline actual emissions; in four cases they are several hundred tons higher. Under the exemptions, the facility would be allowed to make modifications that would increase actual air emissions by these amounts without undergoing any of the environmental safeguards of the permitting process.

Two arguments have been made to respond to concerns about the increased emissions allowed by the caps. First, it is claimed that the facility's existing permit allows even higher emissions than those allowed by the caps. This is an erroneous claim. The existing air permit does not allow significant increases in actual emissions under the conditions allowed by the proposed exemptions. Under the existing permit, the facility is authorized to increase its emissions to the "permit allowable" level only if it can do so without making a physical change or change in method of operation of the permitted equipment. Because emissions result from production activities and because production constraints often require changes in permitted equipment before emission-increasing facilities are possible, the "permit allowable" emissions level is only a theoretical level of emissions that the environment typically will not see absent a physical change or change in method of operation. The proposed exemptions would remove the critical constraints contained in the existing permit and allow emissions increases that result from physical changes (of non-major sources) and methods of operation changes (at both major and non-major sources). Thus, the effect of the proposed exemptions is to convert unlikely, theoretical allowable emissions into probable actual emissions. Only lawyers could conclude that this change had no environmental significance.

Second, it has been argued that going through PSD review does not necessarily provide any environmental benefit. Again, this is a theoretical claim, belied by actual experience at the facility. In 1995 the facility sought and received approval from the Georgia air permitting agency for many of the facility modifications described in the FPA. These modifications apply to non-major sources at the facility but would result in significant emissions increases at the facility's major sources, specifically the power boiler. Accordingly, under existing regulatory requirements the modifications would have been subject to PSD review absent compensating emission reductions. In order to avoid PSD review the facility committed to a series of projects to reduce steam demand at the power boiler by 95,000 pounds per hour. These steam offsets would reduce emissions by the following amounts, based on information in the facility's permit application:

14.09 23.43   226.58 33.41 29.93 143.77 74.10

Thus, the applicability of the existing PSD program to the Flint River facility does have a demonstrably beneficial air quality impact. In the case of the single permit amendment described above, the facility was required to commit to emission reductions of more than 500 tons per year in order to quality for an exemption under that program.

It is striking that the projects at issue in the above permit amendment are precisely the type that the proposed FPA would allow to proceed without any required emissions offset: physical changes to non-major emitting units that result in a significant emission increase at a major source at the facility. Thus, if the FPA's proposed air permit changes had been in effect eighteen months ago, the result would have been to allow an increase of over 500 tons of pollution per year compared to what was achieved under the current PSD applicability requirements. If the proposed PSD exemptions under the FPA were to be adopted now, there is every reason to anticipate that additional large actual emission increases would be permitted.

Given the potential for large actual increases in air emissions under the proposed FPA, it is especially important that an attempt be made to justify such a result as necessary and appropriate to achieve the water quality and solid waste benefits identified in the FPA. Such a justification has not bee presented; nor is one apparent from the available materials. Two sets of benefits need to be examined: the modest enforceable improvements in raw water usage and certain effluent discharges set for in FPA Table Two; and more significant, unenforceable goals described in FPA Table Three.

Regarding the Table Two commitments, it is not reasonable to claim that these benefits justify the proposed PSD exemptions. In fact, in its July 1995 permit amendment discussed above, the facility sought and received authorization to construct the very projects now being relied on in the proposed FPA to deliver the FPA Table Two benefits. In its 1995 permit application the facility represented the project would achieve the water quality benefits now included in the FPA. However, the FPA Table Two commitments are not even as large or extensive as the benefits the facility claimed in 1995 would result from the project:

in 1995 the facility forecast a 31 lbs/ADMT reduction in bleach plant color; no commitment to a reduction is in the FPA;

in 1995 BOD was forecast to be reduced by 0.7 lbs/ADMT; the FPA commitments to a 0.5 lb reduction;

in 1995 AOX was forecast to be reduced by 25%; the FPA sets a limit about 40% higher than baseline levels;

in 1995 TSS were forecast to be reduced by 0.8 lbs/ADMT; the FPA commits to a 0.56 lb reduction;

in 1995 COD was forecast to be reduced by 8.7 lbs/ADMT; the FPA contains no commitment to COD reduction;

in 1995 total water usage was forecast to be reduced by 0.5 million gallons per day; the FPA commits to a usage of 0.3 million tons greater than baseline.

Thus, while Table Two of the FPA does commit to some modest reductions in current allowable discharges and to modest reductions below current actuals for BOD and TSS, these reductions are attributable to a project for the facility has already received its required air permits. Accordingly, the proposed PSD exemption cannot be justified a needed to achieve these benefits.

Table Three of the FPA does contain more significant unenforceable goals related to MIM Phase V. However, a statement of goals is not an adequate justification for the potentially adverse air quality consequences of the PSD exemptions under the FPA. We understand why the facility may be unable at this time to enter into specific enforceable performance standards reflecting MIM Phase V goals. Nevertheless, it is feasible to set forth a more specific set of undertakings which spell out actions, resources, and criteria for determining whether to go forward with the environmentally beneficial process changes contemplated under MIM Phase V. A revised XL FPA with such detailed objective components could form the basis for an approach where appropriate regulatory flexibility actions could be taken following the facility's successful completion of intermediate actions designed to implement MIM Phase V goals. This approach is in marked contrast to the current FPA where very broad exemptions are granted up front with little more than a listing of "feasibility studies" that will be undertaken in return. While an identification of studies is important, if any regulatory flexibility is to be provided in return for undertaking these studies there should be a stakeholder-based process for reaching agreement on issues of study design and scope, resources to be applied, and criteria for determining the actions to be taken following study completion. The current FPA calls for a joint determination of bleach plant effluent flow limits in connection with the facility's NPDES permit renewal in 2002. The FPA proviso that the permitting authority will include in a draft permit only those provisions regarding bleach plant flow limits that are agreed to by all parties (including the permittee) is an inappropriate surrender of the permitting authority's responsibility to retain independence in determining the content of draft permits that are proposed for public review.

In sum, we oppose the proposed PSD exemptions because they would allow large actual increases in air emissions. These exemptions have not been shown necessary to achieve the environmental benefits described in the FPA and the more significant MIM Phase V goals are not accompanied with commitments that would warrant consideration of such broad waivers of air quality safeguards.

III. MACT Provisions

The FPA contemplates a site-specific rulemaking to provide an alternative MACT compliance approach for the facility. While in principle such an approach could be environmentally beneficial, significant changes to the FPA provisions are required. First, credit for past "voluntary reductions" are not appropriate. The Act contains a specific provisions for rewarding early reductions of toxic emissions. There is no policy or legal basis for creating an additional mechanism beyond those provisions. As EPA's October 10, 1996 letter concerning the FPA notes, the proposed credit provisions could result in emissions of toxic pollutants from the facility being higher under the FPA approach than would occur with actual MACT compliance. This is not an acceptable outcome.

Second, the target for an alternative MACT compliance approach should be better than simple equivalence to standard MACT compliance. A site-specific rulemaking represents a substantial commitment of scarce taxpayer-supported agency resources Resources expended for site-specific resources are not available for other environmental improvement actions. To justify dedicating these agency resources to a site-specific MACT rulemaking, the FPA should require a significant reduction in toxic emissions compared to the level that would result from standard MACT compliance.

Third, we support the emphasis on pollution prevention approaches to toxics reduction that is in the FPA narrative. However, the commitment to allow a site-specific MACT alternative is not conditioned on the facility selecting pollution prevention methods for all or most of the required reductions.

Fourth, the FPA should provide for an assessment of relative toxicity of HAPs, with a bar on substituting reductions of less toxic HAPs for more toxic HAPs. We understand the agencies believe that such substitutions are not likely; in which case there should be no basis for permitting a clear requirement in this regard from the FPA.

IV. Air Monitoring Provisions

Appendix Six of the FPA proposed several changes to paragraphs 9.a. and 9.b. of the existing air permit. The purpose of the changes is to allow alternative monitoring to substitute for the annual and biannual performance testing currently required. However, as drafted the revisions delete the underlying requirements in the permit that identify the sources and pollutants that are subject to a performance test requirement. This drafting error needs to be corrected. Second, the FPA allows surrogate or parametric monitoring to justify performance testing at less frequent intervals. The proposed text is deficient in that it fails to describe criteria for determining what is acceptable surrogate or parametric monitoring, does not provide for the permitting authority to make the determination whether the alternative monitoring is acceptable, and does not set forth the minimum frequency and duration of alternative monitoring that would provide the basis for determining the relationship between the source's actual and allowable emissions.

V. Excess Emissions Reports

We object to the inclusion of a 2% run time exemption for reporting excess emissions. The current permit contains a number of requirements intended to prevent excursions of emissions over very short periods of time (opacity over six-minute periods; TRS releases exceeding 15 minutes; recovery furnace temperature drops over 5 minutes duration). There could be a very large number of short-duration excess emission events that would not amount to 2% of total run time and thus would not have to be reported under the proposed exemption. Note that paragraph 28 of the existing permit provides a 1% trigger level (exclusive of startup, shutdown, malfunction) for considering excess emissions to indicate a violation. Thus, the FPA would not even require reporting of incidents that the current permit would regard as violations. The exemption for excess emissions reports would make the facility's operations less transparent and should be deleted from the FPA.

VI. Lack of Air Emission Reporting

Page 3 of the FPA states that the facility currently measures 12 air pollutants as parameters that are "important to demonstrating continuous improvement towards a Minimum Impact Mill." However, the FPA does not provide for reporting releases of any of these pollutants. We submit that the criterion of superior environmental performance should include increased transparency regarding the facility's environmental releases, particularly providing easily accessible public reports of such releases. Since the FPA indicates the facility already is measuring these parameters, it appears entirely reasonable to include reports on these releases as part of a Project XL reporting program.

In conclusion, we hope these comments will be useful to you in reviewing the terms of the proposed FPA. We look forward to discussing any responses to our concerns that you or other stakeholder may have. Please contact us with any questions you may have regarding these comments or with further information that may be relevant to the proposed FPA.


David G. Hawkins

Senior Attorney



800 WHEATLEY STREET October 30, 1996

AMERICUS, GA 31709-4693



Ms. Michelle M. Glenn

Weyerhaeuser Project XL Lead

U.S. EPA Waste Division 10th Floor

100 Alabama Street, S.W.

Atlanta, GA 30303

Dear Ms. Glenn:

I have had the opportunity to review in detail the draft of the FPA of Weyerhaeuser Flint River Operation Project XL and the accompanying project proposal and objectives. I attended two meetings with EPD and EPA representatives and Weyerhaeuser personnel, one meeting at which you were in attendance.

I am a registered professional geologist, and for the past 16 years I have been involved in studies of the surface and ground waters of this region of Georgia. In the early 80's I served on the Scientific Advisory Committee to Buckeye Cellulose Company which had the responsibility for designing and supervising an investigation of the ecological health of the Flint River and Lake Blackshear by personnel of The Philadelphia Academy of Science after the pulp mill start up. The study's findings provided information that resulted in steps that improved the mill's environmental impact. Since that time, I have been active in the Lake Blackshear Watershed Association and have been involved with Dr. William L. Tietjen of Georgia Southwestern State University in research on the water quality and nutrient loading in the Flint River and Lake Blackshear.

All of the above is to emphasize my concern for the health of the river and the lake. In all the contacts with Weyerhaeuser personnel and its predecessors, Buckeye Cellulose and Proctor and Gamble, I have found them to be responsible citizens of the community. The companies' commitment to providing state-of-the-art pulp mill operations and environmentally sound waste water treatment facilities has been outstanding. The companies have participated in the LBWA and provided partial financial support in its investigative effort and have carried on continuing investigations of the ecological health of the river and upper lake on their own.

I think that Weyerhaeuser Project XL is an appropriate vehicle for a company that has a proven environmentally-responsible record to demonstrate to the regulatory agencies and the public that they can be good corporate citizens. There are enough checks and balances in the proposed operating rules to protect society while allowing the company to meet market demands and even enhance its environmental stance.

Yours truly,

Harland E. Cofer

Professor Emeritus, Geology

Georgia Southwestern State University


Lake Blackshear Watershed Association

P.O. Box 1218

Cordele, Georgia 31015


October 18, 1996

Michelle M. Glenn

Weyerhaeuser Project XL Lead

U.S. EPA, Waste Division, 10th Floor

Atlanta Federal Center

100 Alabama Street, S.W.

Atlanta, GA 30303

Ms. Glenn:

The Lake Blackshear Watershed Association would like to go on record as supporting the Project XL for Weyerhaeuser's Flint River Operations at Oglethorpe, Georgia. We are an active group involved with the health of the Flint River and Lake Blackshear, which is just downstream of this plant. Weyerhaeuser has been extremely helpful with our group in supporting our scientific work both financially and by providing manpower.

We understand that Weyerhaeuser has implemented millions of dollars in process changes and have steadily improved their discharges. We also understand that this project will mean an even better environmental standing for this pant and can do nothing but improve the quality of the river and lake downstream. This looks like a win-win situation to us and we would wholeheartedly offer our support. If we an be of any assistance, please feel free to call on us.


Marcus Waters


Lake Blackshear Watershed Association


Macon County Chamber of Commerce

P.O. Box 308

Montezuma, Georgia 31063

Phone 912/472-2391

October 18, 1996

Michelle M. Glenn

Weyerhaeuser Project XL Lead

U.S. EPA, Waste Division, 10th Floor

Atlanta Federal Center

100 Alabama Street, S.W.

Atlanta, GA 30303

Dear Ms. Glenn:

I am writing this letter on behalf of the Macon County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, to show our full support of the Weyerhaeuser Flint River Operations' Project XL Program.

Our Macon County Weyerhaeuser plant has been located in Oglethorpe, Georgia, since 1978. The plant employs approximately 450 persons from the middle Georgia area and has an annual payroll of $20 MM. Weyerhaeuser continues to be a good corporate citizen by making yearly donations to support such programs as: Leadership Youth Macon County, United Givers, Inc., Georgia Southwestern College, South Georgia Technical Institute, Habitat for Humanity and many more. Our Macon County pant has been recognized numerous times for air and water quality awards, with the most recent award being the Georgia Chamber of Commerce 1996 Water Protection Citizen of the Year award.

Weyerhaeuser was the first forest products industry in the nation to be accepted into the XL program. The program was created by the EPA to obtain environmental performance that is superior to what would be achieved through compliance with existing and reasonably anticipated future regulations.

We are very proud of our Weyerhaeuser Flint River Operations plant which continues to improve the quality of life in Macon County.


Michelle H. Allen, President

Macon County Chamber of Commerce

City Manager Mayor

David M. Peaster, Sr. Preston C. Williams, Jr.

City Clerk Members of Council:

Joyce H. Hardy Carl B. Adams



City Attorney P.O. Box 388 Marvin Edwards

Donald L. Lamberth Montezuma, Georgia 31063 Cordel Jackson

(912) 472-8144 Samuel Jolley

Police Chief Fax (912) 472-5873 Carl S. Pensick

Lewis E. Cazcuave

November 4, 1996

Ms. Michele M. Glenn

Weyerhaeuser Project XL Lead

U.S. EPA, Waste Division, 10th Floor

Atlanta Federal Center

100 Alabama Street, S.W.

Atlanta, GA 30303

(404) 562-8674

Fax (404) 562-8628

Dear Ms. Glenn:

The Weyerhaeuser Flint River Operation has been and continues to be a good neighbor in our community. Prime examples of community involvement include annual plant donations to support United Way campaigns, the Macon County Local Emergency Planning Commission, local literacy programs, and Habitat for Humanity. Weyerhaeuser employees serve in voluntary leadership capacities with the School Board, Band boosters and other civic organizations.

In addition to their community spirit, Weyerhaeuser has a deep dedication to pollution prevention and environmental protection in our community. As you know, they have been recognized numerous times for air and water quality awards by various organizations. Based on my observation and involvement with the local Weyerhaeuser operation, it is understandable that Weyerhaeuser is the first forest products industry in the nation to be accepted into the Project XL program. They definitely earned this acceptance recognition by superior performance through compliance with existing and reasonably anticipated future environmental regulations.

The City of Montezuma has been actively involved in the development of the Final Project Agreement. It is without any equivocation as a shareholder, that I concur with the level of flexibility in the Final Project Agreement.


Preston C. Williams, Jr.


cc: Kent Walker, Weyerhaeuser Flint River Operations




AMERICUS, GA 31708-4003

(912) 931-2135



November 6, 1996

Michelle M. Glenn

Weyerhaeuser Project XL Lead

U.S. EPA, Waste Division, 10th Floor

Atlanta Federal Center

100 Alabama Street, S.W.

Atlanta, GA 30303

Dear Ms. Glenn:

As an environmental biologist, I am especially concerned abut he quality of water in regional ecosystems. I have been observing Lake Blackshear and the Flint River for over thirty years. Since 1989, I have been involved in several water quality studies of Lake Blackshear. These studies support earlier work suggesting that major water quality problems of the lake result from nonpoint source impacts. Nonetheless, it is most important that all point sources impacts be kept to a minimum. Therefore, I have followed the development of the Weyerhaeuser Company's Flint River Operations Project XL Program proposal with great interest. I have attended several of the shareholder meetings, have been in discussions with Weyerhaeuser employees and have read the 10/9/96 Draft Project Agreement. I would also observe that I have had many opportunities to interact with Weyerhaeuser environmental management personnel through the lake studies and through the Lake Blackshear Watershed Association. I have found these people to be open, cooperative, knowledgeable individuals expressing concern about Lake Blackshear water quality in general and the impacts of the flint River operation in particular. The Plant has supported fully or in part, such study on Flint River and Blackshear water quality. The Plant has obviously done much through the years to minimize impact on water quality.

The general Project XL concept is meritorious. It is reasonable that negative regulation affect be reduced, if overall environmental quality is increased and if no specific impacts become generally more negative. It is obvious that reduced paperwork and increased system flexibility and response time are valuable assets to the company. If this can be achieved at the same time the environmental quality also increases, then the merits are obvious.

There are certain technical aspects specific to Bleach Plant operations that are not part of my expertise and I am not qualified to evaluate the overall engineering success projections. However, the proposed environmental impact reduction coupled with water and energy conservation is most desirable. Based on my knowledge of the lake and river system, and my knowledge associated with Weyerhaeuser personnel, and with the understanding that regulatory supervision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division will continue to exist, I feel comfortable with the Project XL Program, I, therefore, express my support of acceptance of the XL Program agreement.


William L. Tietjen, Ph.D.

Professor and Chairman


Olin M. Ivey, Ph.D.Executive Director


Georgia Environmental Organization, Inc.

6750 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, Suite 802

770-447-GEO7 [4367] * 770-447-5668 [FAX]

Atlanta, Georgia 30360-2218

e-mail: 75773_3340@compuserve.com

7 November 1996

Ms. Michelle M. Glenn

Weyerhaeuser Project XL Lead

U.S. EPA, Waste Division, 10th Floor

100 Alabama Street, S.W.

Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Dear Ms. Glenn:

Thank you for the opportunity to be involved in the approval process of the Flint River Plant of Weyerhaeuser in the EPA Project XL program.

I have read the original draft and made comments on its in a conference call arranged by the national office of EPA. When I studied in detail the "Final Project Agreement," I was pleased to see that the issues we talked about in the conference call had been properly addressed, demonstrating to me that Weyerhaeuser was indeed taking the response phase of the process with utmost seriousness and genuinely interested in the input from the public as well as others within EPA.

I, then, arranged to go on an intensive tour of all its facilities at the Flint River plant. On Monday, 4 November 1996, I met with Janet McElmurray, head of local corporate communications, and Russell K. Stevenson, the plant environmental manager. We spent a total of five hours together, most of this time one-on-one with Mr. Stevenson. At least two hours focused on details of the document itself and discussing the conceptual framework behind the desire of Weyerhaeuser to be a part of Project XL. We toured the plant, grounds, wastewater treatment facility and discharge area, and landfill.

Mr. Stevenson has spent his entire life (having been the son of a government environmental official) working in the area of the environment. He brings to this Project XL dedication and commitment to make his company and, in particular, the Flint River facility the foremost leader in environmental awareness, procedures, and engineering. He seeks to find ways to be more environmentally friendly and more cost-effective through better engineering, thus creating a sustainable silviculture operation in the product phase.

I do not make such reflections lightly. During the extended period we were together, I grilled him time and time again about details of the proposal and the operation itself. He shared openly the decision-making process he goes through in seeking to hold together environmental concerns and a cost-effective, money-making operation. I watched carefully for any hint of game-making with either the EPA or me. I sensed none.

While entering the administrative portion, while walking around the operation, and while touring the grounds, I also looked closely at the employees and their demeanor, both at their work and in their greetings to me (none knew who I was or why I was there). In addition to everything else, a high level of esprit d'corps appears to permeate the workforce at Flint River. For me, this is important in accessing whether or not an experimental program such as Project XL will be translated successfully from paper to reality.

I also met an hour and half with the Gary Risner, the Area Environmental Manager of Weyerhaeuser, in his Atlanta office as a follow-up to the facility visit to be sure that the Flint River operation has corporate support.

I have two comments to make, one specific, the other general:

1. On page 21, a proviso (or an item 3) should be added: "When the Georgia EPD permitting process converts to 'simultaneous basin-wide' permitting, rule 2 will apply provided Weyerhaeuseralong with all others in the basinis not required to modify its permit in order to respect basin-wide demands."

2. This particular Project XL has resulted in an agreement rather than a contract, I am not sure that is the best way to go. I have no strong opinion on it but an agreement is not as binding on any of the partners as a contract. Further discussion on this matter needs to be carried out generally between EPA, its business partners in Project XL, and the environmental community.

After having spent a considerable amount of time on this project so that my judgment would be an informed one back-up by indepth analysis, I wholeheartedly APPROVE the Weyerhaeuser Flint River Operations Project XL program as outlined in its Final Project Agreement. I further look forward to working with both EPA and Weyerhaeuser in this ongoing project in any way either party deems appropriate.


Olin M. Ivey, Ph.D.

Executive Director


Bob Donaghue, Georgia Pollution Prevention Assistance Division

Julie Frieder, USEPA, Washington Office of Information Resource Management

Janet McElmurray, Weyerhaeuser Flint River

Gary Risner, Weyerhaeuser Southeastern Area

Russell K. Stevenson, Weyerhaeuser Flint River

David Word, Georgia EPD



11 Dupont Circle (202) 939-6976

Washington, D.C. 20036, U.S.A. FAX: (202) 939-6969

November 7, 1996

BY TELECOPIER: (404) 562-8628


Ms. Michelle Glenn

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Weyerhaeuser Project XL Lead

Waste Division, 10th Floor

100 Alabama Street, S.W.

Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3104

RE: Submission of Public Comment on Weyerhaeuser Project XL Final Project Agreement (61 Federal Register 53373; October 11, 1996)

Dear Ms. Glenn:

The Institute for Regulatory Policy (IRP) is a "'501(c)(3)" non-profit entity that monitors and comments upon advancements in Federal regulatory policy. The IRP published Toward Common Measures: Recommendations for a Presidential Executive Order on Environmental Risk Assessment and Risk Management, which was instrumental in illuminating the core issues involved in, and in advancing the debate regarding, the use of risk assessment in Federal environmental regulatory programs. The IRP's parent entity, Federal Focus, Inc. recently published guidelines and principles for the use of epidemiological studies in regulatory policy-making, Principles for Evaluating Epidemiologic Data in Regulatory Risk Assessment.

The IRP hereby submits, in response to the Federal Register notice of October 11, 1996, the enclosed comment paper: The EPA-Georgia-Weyerhaeuser Project XL Agreement Is a Major Positive Step in "Reinventing Government."

We commend the EPA and all other parties involved for producing an innovative approach to multi-media environmental protection and environmental resource management at a major industrial facility.

The EPA-Georgia-Weyerhaeuser Final Project Agreement simultaneously achieves both:

(1) significant reductions in releases of pollutants to various media; and

(2) an innovative, cost-effective approach to longer-term capital planning at the facility, regarding both production facilities and environmental control facilities, including significant reductions in regulatory paperwork for minor modifications at the facility and related burdens such as future transaction costs of permit renegotiations.

We believe this agreement will be a significant precedent for integrated, cost-effective multi-media permitting.

If you have any questions about our comments, please do not hesitate to call me at: (2) 939-6976.


Brooks J. Bowen

cc: The Honorable Carol Browner

The Honorable Mary Nichols

A. Stanley Meiburg, Deputy Regional Administrator, U.S. EPA Region IV

Bob Donaghue, Assistant Director, Georgia Pollution Prevention Assistance Division

David Word, Assistant Director, Georgia Environmental Protection Division


The EPA-Georgia-Weyerhaeuser Project XL Agreement

Is a Major Positive Step

In "Reinventing Government"

I. Introduction

The Institute for Regulatory Policy (IRP) commends the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Georgia Department of natural Resources, the Weyerhaeuser Company, and all "stakeholders" who participated in successfully negotiating the Final Project Agreement (FPA) for Weyerhaeuser's Flint River, Georgia forest products facility.

The IRP has for several years observed and evaluated numerous efforts to "reinvent government" and to achieve "regulatory reform," particularly in the field of environmental regulation. We know that EPA has made admirable efforts to streamline substantively complex, procedurally cumbersome, and unnecessarily burdensome regulatory processes, notably through initiatives such as the "Common Sense Initiative" and "Project XL." In our judgment, the Weyerhaeuser FPA is the most striking example to date of these efforts, as it presents a "win-win" outcome for the company, for the regulatory agencies involved, for the local community, and for all sectors of the environment.

Weyerhaeuser describes its Minimum Impact Manufacturing (MIM) philosophy as a holistic strategy for continuous environmental improvement, seeking to harmonize the company's pulp and paper manufacturing facilities with their surrounding physical environments. The MIM approach continually strives for (1) optimizing efficient use of raw materials (including water and fossil fuel energy sources), (2) pollution prevention at the source, (3) recycling and reuse of production intermediates and waste paper, and (4) reduction of emissions to all environmental media (including disposal to landfills). The MIM approach and the principles embodied in the FPA should be useful precedents for both the regulating agencies and for other members of the pulp and paper industry.

II. FPA Satisfies Important National Regulatory Policy Objectives

We are pleased to see that the proposed FPA satisfactorily addresses several specific, important national regulatory policy objectives.

1. Employs cost-effective regulatory requirements.

The FPA will facilitate the cost-effective utilization of the regulatory agencies' and the regulated community's financial and human resources. The 15-year duration of the proposed FPA has positive benefits for both the Government and the regulated community.

The 15-year permit horizon facilitates efficient planning for corporate capital investments and provides the company with a greater degree of assurance that (1) capital investments in modernized production facilities and (2) capital and other investments in (a) pollution control (whether "end-of-stack" technology or pollution-preventing production process changes) and in (b) technology or techniques for reuse/recycling of materials will be more efficiently utilized over time.

The 15-year agreement provides a specific "road map" showing the steps the company will take, over time, as part of a long term commitment to improve over existing performance, which interested members of the local community as well as regulators can monitor. Additionally, there is a safeguard mechanism for amending the FPA if there are changes to applicable regulations.

Substantially reduces or eliminates unnecessary regulatory burdens and paperwork, for example, the need to renegotiate both water and air permits each 5 years, as well as certain "paperwork" reporting obligations. Importantly, the FPA ensures that the facility's performance data will be available to the public for inspection.

Achieves superior environmental protection and environmental resource management, with real improvements compared to current actual (in compliance) baseline.

2. Utilizes regulatory performance objectives.

The FPA will allow, and will serve as an important precedent for, the use of performance-based permitting objectives, instead of employing the traditional "command and control" requirements that specify the manner of compliance as well as the maximum level of emissions.

Allows the regulated community flexibility to achieve the necessary performance level in creative ways (such as process controls and pollution prevention approaches) other than through "end of pipe/stack" control technology.

Employs a facility-wide "bubble-type" regulatory concept, when no single source poses a significant environmental or human health risk.

Allows a facility to achieve reductions more cost-effectively, through (1) pollution-prevention improvements in facility production processes, or (2) emission controls or process changes at other sources at the facility (e.g., boilers and other energy generation facilities), or (3) installation of emissions control technologies on traditionally-regulated emissions sources.

3. Encourages technological research and development.

The FPA indicates that the regulatory agencies recognize that cooperative R&D at a major facility can pay big dividends in development of technology that is transferable to other industry facilities.

4. Provides a good precedent for "partnering" among EPA Headquarters, EPA Regional offices, and the States.

The FPA employs a creative regulatory approach to develop site-specific regulations; allows regulatory flexibility in national programs with uniform national performance standards.

5. Reduces regulatory paperwork.

Upon signing into the law the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, President Clinton announced that the EPA would achieve a 25% reduction in its paperwork burdens on the regulated community. This FPA presents a real and ongoing reduction in unnecessary paperwork, for a facility that has a superior environmental compliance record.

Uses a "dual-cap" regulatory approach to in effect "pre-approve" minor modifications to or additions of Clean Air Act regulated facilities; greatly reduces or eliminates paperwork, delay, and other transaction costs attendant to the PSD permit modification process, all consistent with the applicable State SIP, NAAQS requirements, etc.

The savings in transaction costs benefits the regulated facility, the State review agency, and the EPA, surely a "win-win" outcome.

III. FPA Satisfies All EPA Criteria

The IRP believes that the FPA fully satisfies each of the criteria that the EPA set forth when it announced the Project XL program. (60 Federal Register 27282; May 23, 1995.)

1. Environmental results.

The improvements in environmental performance that Weyerhaeuser pledges are in comparison to the Flint River facility's actual current performance (which has been in compliance with applicable regulatory and permit requirements), not the permit-allowed levels of performance. Accordingly, reductions below the baseline, i.e., the current actual performance levels, will fairly constitute "superior" improvements in environmental performance.

To put the Flint River facility into context, it already is one of the leaders in the industry in terms of environmental performance. Currently using raw water at a rate that is below the industry average, the facility will again reduce its raw water usage by about 10% and will reduce its effluents from the bleach plant flow by about half (as measured in m3/ADMT). The facility also will markedly improve the quality of its water effluent, improving several parameters including BOD, TSS, color and AOX. All improvements will be achieved with no increases in emissions to other media.

The facility anticipates that its reductions of hazardous air pollutants also will be substantial as the Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPS) MACT rule is implemented over the next few years; the innovative and administrative-flexibility aspects of this FPA pertain in large part to the creation of flexibility for the facility to obtain credit for reductions in HAPS emissions from various equipment or processes at the facility in addition to the traditionally-controlled air emissions sources such as the steam boilers. The FPA also calls for the implementation of programs to reduce steam use, which will result in fossil fuel energy use reductions and associated reductions in criteria air pollutant emissions.

Moreover, the FPA calls for the facility to reduce its generation of process-related solid wastes by 50% (per ADMT) in the long term; this will be achieve by a combination of measures, including primarily source elimination, in-process material reuse, and recycling.

Weyerhaeuser also will achieve additional benefits in its management of timberlands resources, which will improve, among other things, surface water quality and wildlife habitat.

Environmental protection is assured, for example, by the limits on effluents and emissions established in the applicable air and water permits.

The Flint River Operations facility also will implement ISO 14001, emerging international standards for environmental management systems.

2. Cost savings and paperwork reduction.

The FPA will reduce certain reporting requirements under current permits.

The 15-year permit horizon facilitates efficient planning for corporate capital investments in both production facilities and pollution control technologies.

As noted above, the paperwork reduction features of the FPA save transaction costs and thus benefit the regulated facility, the State review agency, and the EPA, surely a "win-win" outcome.

3. Stakeholder support.

We are advised that not only EPA Region IV, but also the State of Georgia and local community groups have been fully supportive of the FPA. Additionally, we understand that Weyerhaeuser has made considerable effort to reach the national environmental community to seek support for this project.

4. Innovation/Multi-media pollution prevention.

This FPA proposes to install superior production process equipment that will reduce pollution generated initially by the production units. This surely is pollution prevention at its core best. In addition, the company will modify certain solid waste treatment/disposal practices to promote reuse and recycling of materials and reduce the amount that must be discarded in a landfill.

5. Transferability.

Several of the practices or technologies that Weyerhaeuser will utilize already are of great interest to others in the industry or similar industries. The technology R&D and feasibility evaluations that will be undertaken during the life of the permit also will produce know-how and analyses that will be transferrable within both the company and the industry (subject to commercial practices for protecting, transferring and licensing proprietary business information).

6. Feasibility.

The activities, process change investments, and R&D proposed all have been found to be feasible for the company. The possibility that the company will be financially or technologically unable to fulfill its commitments in quite unlikely. Major features of the FPA will be embodied in Weyerhaeuser's corporate strategic planning and capital investment planning, so the FPA will indeed be an integral part of the operations and future planning at the Flint River facility.

7. Monitoring, reporting, and evaluation.

Although certain opportunities for public review may be foregone during the project (notably, reviews pertaining to PSD applications for relatively minor alterations or additions at the facility), the FPA includes commitments by Weyerhaeuser to an ongoing public process, including an annual review with the public and public access to the facility's performance records. Also, the permits issued pursuant to the FPA will still be subject to public notice and comment. Moreover, the visibility of participation in the Project XL, program will assure that the company is held to a high standard of accountability.

8. Shifting of risk burden.

We see no instance in which the FPA would shift risk of environmental degradation or potential worker safety, etc. to other parties.

IV. Conclusion

The Institute for Regulatory Policy believes that the EPA-Georgia-Weyerhaeuser Project XL Final Project Agreement is a positive, precedent-setting advancement in innovative regulatory policy, which merits prompt approval and implementation.

We acknowledge and commend the efforts of all who contributed to this successful experiment at "Reinventing Government."

The Institute for Regulatory Policy (IRP) is a "'501(c)(3)" non-profit entity that monitors and comments upon advancements in Federal regulatory policy. The IRP published Toward common Measures: Recommendations for a Presidential Executive Order in Environmental Risk Assessment and Risk Management, which was instrumental in illuminating the cost issues involved in and advancing the debate regarding the use of risk assessment in Federal environmental regulatory programs. The IRP's parent entity, Federal Focus, Inc. recently published guidelines and principles for the use of epidemiological studies in regulatory policy-making, Principles for Evaluating Epidemiologic Data in Regulatory Risk Assessment.


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