Alcoa aluminum plants By: Madison Childs
History & 0ther info. • Alcoa Aluminum plant is the world’s 3rd largest producer of aluminum • Conducts operations in 31 countries • Alcoa’s products are used worldwide in aircraft, automobiles, commercial transportation, packaging, building and construction, oil & gas, defense, and industrial applications. • Alcoa is 15th amongst corporations emitting airborne pollutants in the U.S.
The problem • Northern New York (just across & upriver from Canada): Two Alcoa plants have been producing aluminum since the early 1900’s They have discharged a stream of toxic pollutants into the water, air, and soil around them • Downstream, Mohawk children attempt to reclaim their heritage = endangered by the chemicals that surround them
consequences • Alcoa used polychlorinated biphenlys (PCBs) -> eventually made their way into the St. Lawrence River, its tributaries & the surrounding area • PCBs: a group of persistent and highly toxic compounds which, in addition to causing cancer in animals, affects growth, behavior, reproduction, immune response, and neurological development • The contaminants from the facilities have degraded adult and juvenile fish habitat for species such as the American eel
Reconnecting to the natural world • Steps to restoring the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe (which is tied closely to the natural world) : • A tribal apprenticeship program will seek to restore traditional Mohawk cultural practices that have been lost or impaired • The program will provide experience in directly harvesting, preparing, preserving and producing traditional Mohawk cultural products • The tribe has targeted four traditional areas for apprentices to receive hands-on training from experienced masters: • Water, fishing & use of river • Horticulture and basket-making • Medical plants and healing • Hunting and trapping
Environmental restoration • Cleanup activities have been started – degrading & capping contaminated sediments and have been attempting to remediate the polluted environment • St. Lawrence River Environmental Restoration Compensation and Determination Plan: protecting and restoring wetland and upland habitat, enhance stream banks, improve impeded fish and other wildlife passage through the rivers, enhance fish stocks and spawning habitat & restore bird habitat.
Clean air act/resolution • April 9, 2003, Justice Dept. & Environmental Protection Agency announced a major Clean Air Act settlement with Alcoa, Inc. • Alcoa committed to install pollution controls that will result in major reductions of harmful air pollutants annually and will fund several beneficial environmental projects