In response to:
Owing Your Soul to the Company Store from the November 29, 1973 issue
To the Editors:
Knowing something of Ralph Nader’s background and having respect for some of his objectives, I was sorely disappointed in the article by him and Mark Green titled “Owing Your Soul to the Company Store” in your Christmas Issue [NYR, November 29]. Under the subheading “Industrial Pollution”. Union Camp Corporation is portrayed as an arrogant company which controls the local scene and does not cooperate with state officials in controlling pollution and protecting natural resources.
The points brought out in this section are taken from a study made in 1970 by a group of students under Mr. Nader’s auspices. These points are sadly exaggerated and misrepresented. Equally upsetting is the fact no notice is taken or credit given for the tremendous environmental improvements completed or being made by Union Camp before, during, and since the 1970 Nader group study in Savannah.
By the end of 1974 more than $60 million in current pollution control additions will have been built at the Savannah mill. This represents the largest pollution control expenditure ever undertaken in the paper industry at a single plant. A massive secondary waste water treatment system began operating at the end of 1972. A primary system had been operating prior to the Nader study group’s visit to Savannah. An air emission improvement program covering lime kilns, power boilers and recovery boilers (the primary sources of emission to the air) is well along and is scheduled for completion by the end of 1974.
Union Camp is trying hard to abide by the environmental protection laws and to be a good neighbor in the communities where it operates plants. It is extremely discouraging to encounter an article written by someone with the public credibility of a Ralph Nader which is based on such outdated and misrepresented information and which completely ignores an outstanding current effort in the interest of the public and of compliance with the law. I would have expected better of Mr. Nader.
Director, Environmental Protection
Union Camp, Savannah, Georgia