More than 200 people showed up to Baldonnel Elementary School to express their concern about the Peace Valley OSB plant’s plan to use MDI resin in its process. The plant makes oriented strand board from compressing wooden flakes with wax and resin.
“If we don’t do something about it, who’s going to?” said Darcy Bailey, who is pursuing his masters in environmental science.
PVOSB, owned by Louisiana-Pacific, is applying to the Ministry of Environment to use MDI, a type of resin that US agencies have reported can cause skin and lung problems.
Sandra Cushway, organizer of the meeting, said that she believed PVOSB repeatedly tests emissions until they get results that comply with regulations, and that she had a letter proving this.
“The thought of them being allowed to use MDI scares me immensely,” Cushway said.
Cushway gave the letter to Bailey, who has also worked for 20 years in oil and gas processing plants, to analyze.
“One of the first things I noticed when I was going through all of the data,” said Bailey, “was that in layman’s terms they just kept testing until they got the results they needed to submit to keep within the parameters of their license.”
He said PVOSB also controls when emission tests take place, which could allow them to bring emissions temporarily to standard when it is suited to their schedule.
Bailey said friends who work at the plant are told not to discuss operations with anyone.
Cushway added Louisiana-Pacific, the company that owns PVOSB, has a history of violations and fines, including $37 million dollars, forcing them to make $70 million worth of upgrades in 1998. The company pleaded guilty to charges of fraud, equipment tampering and falsifying pollution reports at its mill in Olathe, Colorado.
Cushway said the meeting minutes will be accepted by the Ministry of Environment as part of PVOSB’s application to use MDI.
“They can afford, I think, a higher level of accountability,” Bailey said.
“Somebody gets sick and they just get sick, it’s just one person or it’s a family or it’s a community. They don’t have access to a whole floor of fork-tongued corporate lawyers who will shuck and jive that problem out of the mix, allowing that OSB plant to just run with their foot to the floor again until the next problem comes up.”
The Peace Valley OSB Plant will be hosting its own open house this evening.