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This is the third year in a row that a North Country company has topped the list of polluters in New York state.

Glens Falls: Finch, Pruyn sees 80 percent rise in pollution

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A new report issued on Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency says the Finch, Pruyn paper mill in Glens Falls generates the most pollution of any manufacturing plant in New York state.

Other top polluters in the North Country include Alcoa, Fort Drum, and International Paper. Brian Mann has details.

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Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

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It’s important to point out that no one is saying that these companies or Federal facilities did anything wrong.  Industries have permits to pollute and legally as part of their normal operations. 

But the Environmental Protection Agency still issues an annual scorecard so that the public can stay informed about who is discharging the most chemicals into the air, the soil and water.

This latest report is based on data collected from 2009.  Finch, Pruyn topped the list for New York state at a whopping 3.8 million pounds – that’s nearly a million pounds more than the second-place company, which was Eastman Kodak in Rochester. 

It’s also a huge spike from 2008, when Finch, Pruyn released only about 2.1 million pounds of chemicals into the environment.  In an interview with the Glens Falls post star company spokesman John Brodt blamed that 80% increase in pollution on inefficiencies in he pulping process.  Brodt says reductions in the amount of chemicals dischared will be seen in 2010.

Other significant polluters in the North Country include International Paper, in Ticonderoga, which released about half a million pounds of chemicals in 2009, Alcoa in Massena, with about 456,000 pounds and Fort Drum near Watertown, which released around 130,000 pounds of chemicals.

One other big change in this report is the amount of pollution coming from the St. Lawrence Zinc Company mine in Gouverneur.  According to the EPA, in 2008, the company topped the new York state list with more than four million pounds of chemicals discharged into the environment.

This year, waste products from that facility dropped to just 1,000 pounds.  According to the Watertown Daily Times, the mine has been shuttered at times because of falling zinc prices. 

This is the third year in a row that a North Country company has topped the list of polluters in New York state.

Topping the list this year in Vermont was IBM, with roughly 120,000 pounds of chemicals released into the environment.

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