The organization formed in 1993 to press Intel to better control its chemical emissions has recently changed its name to Clean Air for All Now, using the acronym CAFANOW. The group was established with the name Corrales Residents for Clean Air and Water (CRCAW). It played an important role in convincing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to fund and oversee a study of Intel’s emissions and later investigations by the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the National Enforcement Investigations Center. The Rio Rancho realtor whose petition to the ATSDR led to the six-year study, Marcy Brandenburg, has spearheaded the name change in an attempt to re-vitalize the grassroots citizens’ group and acknowledge that residents affected by emissions are not just those in Corrales.
“No matter where you reside, air pollution affects us all,” Brandenburg pointed out in an email October 6. She has demanded that the N.M. Environment Department regulate Intel Rio Rancho as a major source of air pollution, rather than what she calls “the sham air permit currently in place.” Among Intel’s list of 82 federally designated Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) in the air pollution permit are: phosgene, phosphine, mercury, glycol ethers, cyanide, arsenic, chromium, phosphorus, chlorine, chloroform, benzene, formaldehyde, hexachloroethane, hydrogen fluoride, hydrochloric acid, and toluene.
Even if Intel were to be regulated as a major source of air pollution, it would still allow release to the breathable air up to nine tons a year of each of those HAPs or a combined 24 tons a year.
Another list in the permit found in Table 106C “Facility Wide Allowable Individual HAP Emissions” shows Intel is specifically allowed to release 5.9 tons a year of phosgene, 7.9 tons of phosphine, 7.4 tons annually of cresols and 3.9 tons of hexachlorocyclopentadiene, along with specified amounts of 11 other toxic air pollutants.
While Intel’s gas-fired boilers, incinerators and diesel-burning generators might be suspected as the major greenhouse gas emitters at the manufacturing complex, some of the chemicals used to produce the finely-etched chips are far more potent climate changers.
Some of Intel’s chemicals, such as chlorinated fluorocarbons, have GHG effects that are 10 times greater than the combustion product carbon dioxide,
For years Brandenburg operated a small business near Intel where she suffered chronic illnesses she attributed to Intel’s fumes.
She joined CRCAW and followed the proceedings and findings of the EPA-funded Corrales Air Toxics Study which the Air Quality Bureau’s Mary Uhl directed in 2002-04.
That $600,000 study was abruptly halted in spring 2004 when Uhl reported that a consultant’s air pollution plume modeling results showed Intel’s pollution was traced to nearby residents’ homes at the time they reported illnesses.
Such a finding was unacceptable politically. Cabinet level officials within Governor Bill Richardson’s administration huddled to find a way through the dilemma.
(See Corrales Comment Vol.XXIII, No. 5, April 24, 2004 “Late Report Links Illnesses to Intel Emission Plume” and Vol.XXIII, No. 9, June 19, 2004 “Cabinet Secretaries Don‘t Believe Air Pollution Problem”)