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Ohio Incinerator Opponents Sit-In at EPA

July 10, 1992

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Opponents of an Ohio incinerator project sneaked up a back stairway into the Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters Friday and staged a sit-in for six hours.

The protesters left peacefully after a top EPA official promised to visit the incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio.

EPA spokesman John Kasper said about 20 people entered the building through a back entrance and walked up to the 12th-floor office of Administrator William Reilly, who wasn’t there at the time. They moved to an 11th-floor conference room, where they met with Assistant Administrator Lew Crampton, Kasper said.

There were no arrests, and Kasper described them as ″a very well-behaved bunch.″

The protesters, some of whom are members of the East Liverpool-based Save Our County group, accused EPA of siding with business and industry.

″We have pursued every avenue, spoken to every bureaucrat and it has gotten us nowhere for the past 12 years,″ protester Alonzo Spencer said in the news release.

The demonstration was triggered by EPA’s decision to give the incinerator six-month approval for a test burn. The temporary authorization allows construction to be completed on the $140 million incinerator.

Julia Bircher, a spokeswoman for Waste Technologies Industries, which built the facility, said the demonstrators ″have no technical background, but they feel they know more than anyone about decisions regarding WTI.″

The incinerator will be capable of burning up to 60,000 tons of waste a year in a single kiln. The waste will come from paint, rubber, chemical and other industrial facilities.

Opponents from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia say the plant will release toxins into the area. The plant is located about 1,000 feet from an elementary school on Ohio’s eastern border with West Virginia.

The company says the plant poses no danger to the environment.

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