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Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice

We are writing to you to express our grave concerns that the draft Final Project Agreement for the Intel site in Chandler, Arizona would set a very poor precedent for environmental justice concerns if it is allowed to proceed as written. At the request of local residents, we have reviewed the current situation and feel compelled to write to you. Although we have been reluctant to participate in the process so far because of the failure to provide independent technical assistance and other stakeholder resources, we feel that we must now express our concerns.

After reviewing the FPA, we are alarmed that it could set a terrible precedent that would present a serious threat to environmental justice. Under the FPA:

** the community and workers could be subjected to higher exposures of extremely toxic chemicals than the current permit allows,
** the standards set are too weak,
** there could be risk shifting which is prohibited by the Project XL guidelines (and is a violation of the Environmental Justice Executive Order),
** there is no independent way to verify if Intel is complying with the terms of the new Air Permit,
** the provisions for water conservation and re-use are inadequate,
** there is completely inadequate community and worker oversight, and
** there has not been and will be no independent technical assistance provided to assure adequate community and worker protection.

For all of these reasons, as more fully expressed below, we urge you to reject the FPA in its current form and to insist that these defects be corrected.

As you know, Project XL offers the promise of greater flexibility in return for superior environmental performance and greater accountability to the community and workers. The Intel XL FPA, if adopted, would offer Intel the tremendous advantage of total flexibility in permitting so that they would no longer have to apply for a new permit if they wanted to make significant changes in their production processes and would even allow them to build a whole new plant as long as they promise to meet certain plant site emission levels. This is a radically new approach to advance permitting, and it is a very bad deal for the community and workers for the following reasons:

1. The community and workers could be subjected to higher exposure levels of extremely toxic chemicals than the existing permit allows. This is clear from the following examples:

Chemicals of concerns Existing permit limits* FPA limits **

Phosphine 25 pounds per year 5 tons per year
Diborane 50 pounds per year 9.9 tons per year ***
Boron trifluoride 100 pounds per year 9.9 tons per year
Boron trichloride 500 pounds per year 9.9 tons per year
Hydrogen chloride 500 pounds per year 9.9 tons per year
Hydrogen fluoride 500 pounds per year 9.9 tons per year
Chlorine 500 pounds per year 9.9 tons per year
Total xylenes 500 pounds per year 9.9 tons per year
Ethylene glycol 500 pounds per year 9.9 tons per year
Silane 500 pounds per year 9.9 tons per year
Total Volatile Organic
Compounds 25 tons per year 40 tons per year

* Permit # 93-0046 issued on April 5, 1994 to Intel by Maricops County Environmental Services Department (MCESD), page 4.
** Draft Permit Conditions # 96-0743 for Intel dated August 14, 1996 issued by MCESD, page 5.
*** Footnote (2) in Draft Permit Conditions # 96-0743, page 5.

This approach clearly does not assure superior environmental performance, as required, and does not provide for any pollution prevention.

2. The standards included in the FPA are insufficiently health protective, particularly when workers and the community are being exposed to so many chemicals, many of which are exotic and untested for health effects individually, much less than in combination.

3. Under terms of the FPA, there could be significant risk shifting that could expose the workers to higher levels of exotic, untested chemicals. One of the biggest weaknesses in the FPA is the potential for the agreement to five Intel a motivation to substitute new substances, currenlty unlisted by EPA as a Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) - yet potentially extremely toxic - in order to stay within the HAP limits contained within the FPA. In an industry that changes its chemical processes as frequently as Intel does, this is a very bad bargain.

4. There is no way to independently monitor compliance or to verify what Intel reports as its emissions limits. There is no provision for any monitoring, only modeling. It is impossible to verify the results of the models, especially since Intel has taken the position that the combination of actual chemical usage and emissions factors are confidential business information. Without this information, independent assessment simply cannot be done. This means that the whole agreement is based on a system of compliance that cannot be independently verified and is, therefore, unaccountable. This flaw is so significant it appears to be a violation of the safeguards of the Clear Air Act.

5. The provisions for water conservation and re-use are seriously deficient, particularly since Chandler is a desert climate and is already seriously short of water supplies. Intel is already using enormous quantities of water and will be able to significantly increase the water usage under the FPA if they decide to build a new facility. There needs to be much stronger requirements for Intel to commit to re-using their waste water by recycling it back into their industrial processes. There are also inadequate safeguards for protecting the aquifers under the proposal to reinject Intel's wastewater.

6. Another critical failure is the lack of community and worker oversight and accountability, both during the preparation of the FPA as well as in its implementation. There are no workers on the stakeholder committee, and only very limited community representation. Some of the local residents have asked for our help to prevent the FPA from being approved in its current form. Many other community residents have chosen not to participate because of the way the process has been organized - no technical assistance, rushing through the process without regard for people's other time commitments, etc. Under these circumstances, there is clearly no "stakeholder support" for this project as required by project XL guidelines.

7. Finally, on top of all these other weaknesses, the process has not allowed for independent technical assistance and none is provided for in the future to oversee the implementation of the project. Since this is among the first major experiment under the project XL, since it will likely set an important precedent, and since it raises such complex technical and legal issues, it would be a travesty of justice to approve the FPA without first subjecting it to a thorough independent technical review and to require Intel to provide ongoing funding for independent technical assistance to community and worker stakeholders in a significantly enhanced oversight committee.

For all these reasons, we ask that you take immediate steps to help correct these problem. We are aware that both David Gardiner and Fred Hanson have met with representatives of several organizations who have raised similar issues and that they have responded in writing to these concerns. But neither has provided a satisfactory response to the issues we raised today. We would, therefore, request that you meet with a delegation of environmental justice, environmental, and labor representatives in the near future to discuss next steps. Unfortunately, the time table that has been set by EPA and Intel staff is very short, so we ask for your immediate response and to extend the time table for comments. We understand that Felicia Marcus and other environmental justice activists will be in D.C. on the week of September 18. At this time, we would like to request a meeting with you preferably on Wednesday, September 18. Deehon Ferris will represent the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice. Please call us at (505) 242-0416 at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

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