Sunday, April 27, 2014

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) looks into STORIS situation

Another interesting document has recently come to light through the diligence of Sarah Pace in pursuing answers from her political representatives. This comes in the form of a letter sent from EPA to Speaker of the House, John Boehner. Boehner had inquired of EPA on October 28 regarding the export of STORIS even as she was en route to Ensenada. It apparently took EPA three months to respond, as the letter is dated as received by the Speaker's office on Feb. 5. The letter claims that EPA does not authorize the export of ships, yet when EPA Region IX was contacted prior to the ship’s departure, PCB investigator Christopher Rollins indicated to me on Oct 23 that he had paperwork that STORIS was free of regulated PCBs and was okay to be exported. He obviously didn’t inspect the ship himself or he would have seen evidence contrary to the paperwork that he didn’t actually request until the following day, Oct 24, the day before the ship was towed from Suisun Bay. EPA HQ was also contacted on Oct 28 by concerned parties, including politicians. EPA was also contacted by, from what we understand, an official from Pacific Tugboat Co. as to whether the tug towing STORIS could proceed to Mexico. It is our understanding that EPA HQ gave Pacific Tug permission to proceed, so they DID give permission for export. This letter also seems to attempt to shift responsibility (and potential blame) for abatement of PCBs on board STORIS to the owners of the ship, Mark Jurisich and John Bryan of San Diego, dba U.S. Metals Recovery, LLC. This is a company registered in Henderson, NV (or San Diego, depending on which business Web site you check). It is NOT a foreign company and there is no sign that STORIS was transferred to a foreign flag to facilitate her dismantling in a foreign scrapyard and otherwise skirt the various environmental laws in place to prevent the export of hazardous materials, particularly PCBs under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.

(Originally posted Feb. 21, 2014)

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