Environmentalists who have been protesting the so-called "toxic train" material headed for the U.S. Pollution Control Inc. hazardous waste landfill in Tooele County should pay attention to issues that have merit, says Tooele County Commissioner Ed St. Clair.
"This one doesn't," he said Wednesday. "Under state law, it doesn't even qualify as hazardous waste. Even yesterday there were trucks and trains that went through Utah (carrying materials) that were far more dangerous than what's contained in this one."The train is hauling 32 cars containing more than 2,000 tons of soil contaminated by acrylic acid in a spill during a 1989 train accident. An environmentalist chained himself to the train twice, and rail officials have received several threats about the shipment.
Tests by the states of Michigan and Ohio have shown that the soil is not contaminated, according to CSX, the rail company.
St. Clair said experts whose opinions he respects have given him assurances that every precaution is taken at the disposal cells. "It's far better that that stuff in the train cars be taken to where it can be properly disposed of, rather than lying along the railway," he said.
"It's just a cleanup."
Joseph Urbanic, a hazardous waste expert who is the former director of the Tooele County Department of Development Services, said the material is probably similar to that which U.S. Pollution Control Inc. disposes of all the time.