(EnviroNews Utah) – Salt Lake City – Amidst the announcement that Stericycle is now intending to move their medical waste incinerating plant from North Salt Lake to Tooele, Bob Bowcock of Team Erin Brockovich took to the podium in what turned out to be the largest environmental protest in Utah State history.
Bowcock, who is an environmental investigator from the Brockovich legal team, called for immediate prosecution of the toxic prion, dioxin, and radiation emitting company, that is already under local State and Federal DOJ criminal investigations for “cooking the books” on compliance tests. His demand came in front of over 5,000 fired-up onlookers at the Clean Air, No Excuses Rally held at the Utah State Capitol Building on Jan. 25, 2014.
Communities for Clean Air, the group that originally recruited celebrity activist Erin Brockovich for the Utah medical waste battle, says that a Stericycle move isn’t enough, citing studies that have shown adverse medical affects on people as far as 300 miles away from an incineration source.
Following a town-hall meeting last summer when the Stericycle saga was scarcely ramping up, local Republican Senator Todd Weiler, after initially being attacked for defending Stericycle, changed his position and promised that he would personally craft a bill in the Senate that would effectively ban all burning of medical waste in Utah. However, voters have now learned that Weiler has chosen to pass the buck on this promise, opting instead to sponsor an incineration ban bill being introduced by Republican Representative Becky Edwards.
Weiler has announced however, that he will introduce his own Stericycle bill in the Senate that will address the proximity of residential dwellings and schools to a medical incinerator, which seems like a moot point if the all out incineration ban bill he initially promised, was to be run and voted into law. Concerned citizens will now have to wait until sometime after the start of the session to explore the language of these new bills and find out what substance they do or do not carry, and if they will actually contain any “teeth”.
Although many are doubtful after experiencing Weiler’s initial defense of Stericycle, his passing of the ban bill to Edwards, and his apparently all too cozy relationship with the Illinois-based company, these same resident are still holding out hope that Rep. Edwards will come to the rescue with her bill and end the reign of toxic emissions from both Stericycle and Clean Harbors, another medical waste burner west of Salt Lake City.
Prosecution has been a theme with the Brockovich team as people in close proximity to the incinerator have complained of a barrage of medical problems that may be related to the plant’s emissions.
In light of several more recent emergency bypass episodes that blasted carcinogenic billowing black smoke throughout the Wasatch airshed, including one that occurred directly when children were walking home from school in front of the plant, one is left to wonder if Stericycle should be given another pollution permit hall-pass by Utah’s Department of Air Quality (DAQ) under ANY circumstance — keeping in mind that this is the same DAQ that carries the very mission and duty of protecting the people of Utah from harmful air pollution.