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Jersey City Sues Wood Mulching Company for Emitting ‘Horrible Smell’ in Ward F
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http://www.jerseycityindependent.com/ ... ent-page-1/#comment-83283


By Abby Wendle ? Dec 17th, 2010 ? Category: Featured, News

Resized Image

Piles of processed mulch sit at Reliable Wood?s Jersey City facility (Main photo: Abby Wendle | Additional photos: Kirk Klocke)

A few blocks down from a neighborhood of sidewalks and porches in Jersey City?s Ward F sits a long stretch of industrial death: unused buildings with broken windows surrounded by rusty barbed wire fences, litter and weeds.

But more than the sight of this blight, neighborhood residents can?t stand the stench, which they?ve dubbed ?the smell.?

?Horse poop,? C. Butler says.

?Dog poop,? Nicole Lashley counters.

?Smells like garbage with perfume,? Gillian Allen offers. ?Like Downy fabric softener over stink.?

Or as Tonya Baker puts it, simply ?rank.?

Reliable Wood Products, LLC, a wood-chip processing plant that recycles wood waste into mulch, emits the smell. The nine-acre Caven Point Road facility is one of the few industrial sites still in operation in the area, and it also serves as the headquarters for the company, which operates 10 other similar processing facilities around New Jersey.

Reliable receives up to 100 tons of leaves and wood each day at the Jersey City facility, chipping and grinding it all into a uniform size before leaving it outside in huge piles to age. (The mulch is sometimes dyed as well, depending on the product.)

Residents of the neighborhood have been complaining about Reliable?s noxious odor since 2005. They have attended City Council meetings, imploring the city to shut down the company?s operations, an effort that proved fruitless since the City Council does not issue the company?s permits.

But the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) does, since Reliable is a state-regulated recycling facility. So residents began complaining to the DEP, which has discovered more than 100 violations against the site. The agency in 2009 fined Reliable more than $400,000 for air pollution and solid waste violations in Jersey City (including ?odors adversely impacting off-site locations?) between October 2004 and December 2007.

The fines were part of an Administrative Consent Order issued by the DEP that sought to force Reliable to modify its practices in Jersey City. The order called for a 30 percent reduction of unprocessed and processed material stored on site, as well as a 20-foot cap on the height of mulch piles and a 60-day limit on uncured material remaining on site.

Despite these efforts, the smell has persisted.

In yet another effort to put an end to the stink, Jersey City this week filed a civil lawsuit in Hudson County Superior Court against Reliable.

Corporation counsel Bill Matsikoudis says he is filing the suit on the grounds that the odor Reliable emits is a ?public nuisance,? a theory of law that an industry or company cannot engage in activities that disrupt surrounding residents.

?The odors emitted significantly and unreasonably interfere with the common right to reasonably pure air, and are injurious to the public health and convenience of the Jersey City citizens residing in nearby neighborhoods,? the suit reads. ?Residents have described the odors as similar to compost or the burning of tires, barbecue, smoked ham, similar to vomit and similar to animal excrement.?

The city believes the suit is the best way to get the company to improve the situation.

?Numerous administrative efforts have failed to constrain Reliable from operating in a way that allows noxious odors to emanate from its facility into the surrounding neighborhood,? Matsikoudis says. ?We believe that a court order is the best way to insure that Reliable will be a good neighbor.?

?It?s pretty simple,? he adds. ?It?s just a horrible smell that nobody should have to live with.?

The testimony cited in the lawsuit comes largely from area residents, as well as one member of the City Council.

?The odor would make a person want to vomit,? Ward B councilman David Donnelly, who visited the site 24 times in his previous role coordinating the Mayor?s Quality of Life Task Force, says in his testimony. ?I was made nauseous when I visited.?

According to Matsikoudis, the lawsuit does not intend to shut down Reliable. Rather, he hopes it will force the company to decrease the size of their mulch piles, currently 25-30 feet high, and alter their process of dyeing wood chips black, brown and red.

But Reliable executive vice president Eugene Ciarkowski doesn?t see any harm with the company?s current mulching practice. He contends that Reliable is doing a service for the community.

?Landfills are filling up in New Jersey,? he says. ?We keep organic material and wood waste out of them.?

Ciarkowski also asserts that the company provides jobs, pays hundreds of thousands of dollars in real estate taxes and creates a product that is used to beautify parks and yards.

In response to complaints about the stink, Ciarkowski says most aren?t proven.

?We have an inspector who comes from Hudson County,? he says. ?Most of the time, the complaints aren?t verified.?

But that doesn?t mean the smell doesn?t exist, according to one Hudson County inspector.

Gary Garetano is the assistant director of the Hudson Regional Health Commission (HRHC), the county agency designated by the DEP and contracted by Jersey City to document odor violations, among other things. These odor violations can result in monetary fines that discourage companies from emitting foul smells.

According to HRHC?s most comprehensive list, it has recorded 388 odor violations related to Reliable?s operations since January 2005, a year and a half after the facility officially opened.

That number is low, according to Garetano, because not all bad smells warrant an odor violation.

?Just the presence of an odor is not a violation,? he says. ?Odor is only a violation if it unreasonably interferes with someone?s enjoyment of life and property.?

In addition to this hurdle, he adds that filing an odor complaint is a multi-step process that is ?frustrating to everyone involved.?

Upon getting a whiff of the stench, a resident must call the HRHC. The HRHC then dispatches an investigator to visit Reliable ? a 19-minute drive from their office ? to find out what is causing the odor. After the visit with Reliable, the HRHC investigator visits the person who complained. In order to write an odor violation against the company, the investigator must, according to Garetano, smell ?the same odor that was originally called in. I would have to verify the odor with you at your house. If I smelled it down the block, I couldn?t write a violation about that, unfortunately.?

In other words, if the wind changes, the complainant is out of luck.

Garetano?s solution is for residents to call more often. Although he doesn?t make any promises that calling will help.

?You?ve got to call me everyday,? he says. ?I know it?s frustrating for people. But call and maybe one out of 20 times we might be able to do something about it.?

That answer doesn?t satisfy Edna Austin, who has lived in her house on Randolph Avenue, a few blocks away from Reliable, since 1961.

She used to regularly call HRHC to complain. Sitting at her back window, she would watch as HRHC?s white truck made a lap around Reliable. Then an investigator would show up and tell her they didn?t smell anything.

She says this happened so often, she no longer thinks calling will help.

?To me, they were just making sure they answered your call, but they?re not going to do anything about it,? she says.

Austin is one of 22 residents who have signed certifications stating that Reliable emits ?vile, obnoxious, nauseating, and/or obnoxious odors? into the air that disrupt their ability to enjoy their life and property. Matsikoudis is presenting them to the court, along with other evidence, hoping that this action will finally give residents a breath of fresh air.

Posted on: 2010/12/23 4:35
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Hudson judge hesitates to shut down smelly Jersey City facility
#2
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Quite a regular


Published: Sunday, December 19, 2010, 3:58 PM Updated: Sunday, December 19, 2010, 7:35 PM
By Melissa Hayes/The Jersey Journal

Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal
Resized Image


The Reliable Paper Recycling, Inc. on Caven Point Avenue in Jersey City, as seen from the Bayview Avenue bridge,
A Hudson County Superior Court judge told the City of Jersey City Friday that it will have to provide expert testimony if it wants the court to shut a wood mulching company responsible for creating a stink in the community.

Superior Court Assignment Judge Maurice Gallipoli declined to place temporary restraints on Reliable Wood Products on Caven Point Road.

Instead, he gave Reliable 35 days to respond to the city's complaint.

"Quite frankly what you need here is some expert testimony and some testimony about what's going on there and then you can come back to court," Gallipoli told Jersey City Corporation Counsel William Matsikoudis.

Residents have long complained about a foul odor emanating from facility, which has been cited by the state Department of Environmental Protection and has been monitoring the site monthly since April.

James Dronzek, an attorney for Reliable, said the facility has not been cited for odor since May and has continually passed monthly DEP inspections.

He noted that Reliable entered into a consent agreement with the state agency in May to reduce how much unprocessed material and processed mulch it stores on site by 30 percent and has been in compliance with that during visits.

Dronzek also questioned why the city was seeking immediate relief when the DEP hasn't issued a citation since May.

Matsikoudis said he has received recent complaints from residents about a stench coming from the facility and included their certifications with his brief.

He added that DEP has issued hundreds of citations over the years and fined Reliable $275,000.

Matsikoudis noted that the site doesn't smell all the time, but when it does, residents have described it as nauseating. He said some residents cannot open their windows or play outside with their children at times.

Gallipoli suggested the city and company try to mediate the issue.

"Maybe the two of you should talk about trying to resolve your differences," he said.


http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/20 ... ge_hesistates_to_shu.html

Posted on: 2010/12/23 4:32
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Reliable Recycling - Air Polluters
#3
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The wood refurnishing industry as a whole uses solvents (such as toluene, methanol, xylene, methyl ethyl ketone, and acetone) they are identified as some of the largest number of TRI releases. Also Wood recycling can generate high levels of dust that often contains arsenic and chromium.

Last night and throught the night, still going on this morning.

They are lawless and we need representation.
Why does this continue?

Environmental Action Line:
(877) 927-6337

Hudson County Air Enforcement: (973) 656-4099.

Call your City Council Rep.

Polluter:
Reliable Paper Recycling
1 Caven Point Avenue
Jersey City, New Jersey 07305

Reliable's attorney and "executive vice president" is Eugene Ciarkowski.

Posted on: 2009/10/20 10:42
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Re: Chris Daggett Independent for Governor Meet & Greet
#4
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Quite a regular


The 1990 ACO had stiff penalties and hard time-lines attached. The new settlement is goal oriented without penalties.

Comments on the new settlement

1990 ACO

Current Settlement

Dan, do you really believe the latest settlement is better than the 1990 ACO? Better for whom?

Posted on: 2009/10/8 4:54
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Re: Chris Daggett Independent for Governor Meet & Greet
#5
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Daggett owns the chromium contaminated 900 Garfield ave lot. He's the former NJDEP commissioner who bought the lot partnered with former Gov. Florio for a controversial small amount of money.

This area was also the focus of the FBI investigation of bribes, developers and NJDEP NFAs (no further action).

This is the second time PPG reaches an agreement on cleanup with NJDEP. Also controversial.

Posted on: 2009/10/7 19:26
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Re: EPA finds NJDEP not making promised fixes
#6
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Quite a regular


The state Sierra Club statement:

EPA to DEP: Get Your Act Together
Date : Thu, 27 Aug 2009 12:13:58 -0400
For Immediate Release
August 27, 2009 Contact: Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

EPA to DEP: Get Your Act Together

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a scathing audit of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection that deals with quality assurance. The audit shows that DEP is not doing its job when it comes to making sure environmental programs are meeting high standards or have proper oversight.


"This audit should be an alarm bell going off for the people of New Jersey," NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said. "DEP is not doing its job when it comes to protecting the environment for the state's residents. There are real consequences, especially when it comes to site remediation. The lack of oversight may allow people to live on sites that have not been properly cleaned up, putting them at risk."

According to the audit, procedures at DEP did not allow for proper oversight, had no documentation, and DEP officials did not have knowledge of the proper function of the program areas. The audit revealed that DEP consistently takes the word of applicants instead of doing its own independent verification.

The audit shows the biggest problem within the DEP is the site remediation program. As we all know, the site remediation program is broken as evidenced by one disaster after another - Kiddie Kollege, Encap, Mercer Rubber, W.R. Grace, the list goes on. There has been a complete failure by DEP to follow proper procedures and do oversight when it comes to hazardous materials on toxic sites. We're seeing a tremendous amount of development taking place on sites that may not have been properly clean up because of a lack of quality assurance. The system is broken and can impact public health.

Under the recently-enacted Licensed Site Professional bill, which will privatize this program, consultants that work for the polluter or developer will sign off on the work plan, oversee the work plan and certify that the site is clean. This is an inherent conflict of interest because consultants working directly with the polluters are acting as if they are the DEP.


"The privatization of site remediation is only going to make these problems worse. In the past, problems have been revealed by DEP staffers. Once the program is privatized, there will be no one there to expose the problems, allowing a tremendous amount of development on sites that haven't been properly cleaned," Tittel said.

What is shocking about this audit is that, even under the current site remediation program, DEP was not following the proper produces and would take the word of the applicant without verification. It is going to be much worse now that the system will be privatized. There will be no verification and DEP has to take the word of the applicant, making the situation more dangerous.

The same problem is occurring in the Brownfields programs, where there is no quality review and proper procedures are not followed, creating a haphazard system. Even when the DEP deals with radon, a carcinogenic gas that gets into our homes, there are not adequate procedures in place to protect us.

When it comes to wetlands, there is no quality assurance on mapping or guarantee that the database on threatened and endangered species is part of the systems. One of the concerns raised is DEP's willingness to take the word of consultants that work for developers on both mapping and species issues without proper verification and procedures to ensure they are actually giving the right information.

This system of relying on consultants that work for developers without proper oversight or quality assurance is only going to get worse due to Substantive Reliance. Substantive Reliance, a rule that was proposed by the Builders Association and supported by the Governor and DEP, is an incentive for developers to lie.

Under Substantive Reliance, information provided by the developer at the beginning of the application process, whether it is correct or not, is accepted by the DEP. Since the DEP has agreed to accept that information even if it turns out to be false, the developer gets the benefit of the original determination. For example, a developer or consultant can say there are no endangered species in a wetland area with a buffer of 50 feet. But if it turns out that there are endangered species and the buffer should be 150 feet, the developer gets to keep that original determination.


"With Corzine cutting the DEP budget by a third and getting rid of more than 500 staff people, these problems are only going to get worse, not better. We see Gov. Corzine weakening water rules and the level of pollutants that can be put into our streams and rivers. This administration is weakening standards for toxic cleanups and undermining protections in the Pinelands and Highlands," Tittel said. "This report should be a wakeup call that the DEP is broken."


Kara Seymour, Program Assistant NJ Sierra Club

links to audit:
http://newjersey.sierraclub.org/PressReleases/0088.asp

Posted on: 2009/8/30 12:14
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EPA finds NJDEP not making promised fixes
#7
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TRENTON ? An audit by the federal Environmental Protection Agency found the state Department of Environmental Protection still hasn't made fixes promised since 2006 and detailed extensive shortfalls in New Jersey's toxic-site cleanup program.

In a sense, the report means the EPA ? headed by former DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson ? is criticizing the management of the DEP during the years Jackson was in charge.

DEP spokeswoman Elaine Makatura said the agency received its copy of the 31-page audit Thursday morning and couldn't comment until it was fully read. "It has not yet been reviewed and/or digested," she said.

Bill Wolfe, a former DEP analyst who is now director of the New Jersey chapter of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said the DEP is failing to meet minimum federal quality and performance standards.

"This audit is an indictment of DEP management for failing fundamental tests of competence," Wolfe said. "Without basic procedures for assuring the accuracy and quality of performance data a public agency cannot even be sure that its shoes are tied."

The biggest issues appear to be in the site remediation program, which EPA said had no documented procedures identifying roles and responsibilities, no outside oversight, staff and managers unaware of the DEP's management plan, no quality control over collection of environmental data and no field audits done to assess projects.

"The EPA assessment team was told that responsible party contractors and/or NJDEP contractors are 'certified professionals are taken at their word,"' the audit said.

Andrew Robins, environmental counsel for the New Jersey Builders Association, contested that claim, saying the DEP has detailed rules about data provided to the state and that on numerous instances, DEP has required that data be resubmitted.

"That's not reality," Robins said of the EPA's finding. "The report is bureaucratic form over meaningful substance, from our experience. There's extensive oversight in the quality control of data provided to the department, a lot of assessment of the data that comes in and certainly not taking the word of the professionals."

(2 of 2)


The EPA says the state has "a unique opportunity" to fix the oversight problems hampering its toxic-site cleanup program under the new program in which licensed site professionals outside of government will be tasked with overseeing cleanup projects. It offered to help set up a system for DEP officials to manage the new program.



Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel said recent high-profile cases in which development occurred on polluted sites ? Kiddie Kollege, Encap, W.R. Grace ? might be a harbinger of other undiscovered problems.

"There may be hundreds of more out there because DEP isn't requiring proper procedures or oversight and is taking the words of the consultants," Tittel said. "It's going to get worse. DEP is not checking and verifying now ... and that's before privatization."

Robins said the LSRP program has audit provisions and will meet federal oversight rules.

The EPA says annual reviews of the DEP's quality assurance program aren't being completed and that some functions in various divisions of the agency lack standard operating procedures.

Also, the programs that generate wetlands maps to help decide whether permits are issued and maintain a database inventory of rare plants and animals operate outside of the DEP's oversight system.

The EPA says the state has "a unique opportunity" to fix the oversight problems hampering its toxic-site cleanup program under the new program in which licensed site professionals outside of government will be tasked with overseeing cleanup projects. It offered to help set up a system for DEP officials to manage the new program.

Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel said recent high-profile cases in which development occurred on polluted sites ? Kiddie Kollege, Encap, W.R. Grace ? might be a harbinger of other undiscovered problems.

"There may be hundreds of more out there because DEP isn't requiring proper procedures or oversight and is taking the words of the consultants," Tittel said. "It's going to get worse. DEP is not checking and verifying now ... and that's before privatization."

Robins said the LSRP program has audit provisions and will meet federal oversight rules.

The EPA says annual reviews of the DEP's quality assurance program aren't being completed and that some functions in various divisions of the agency lack standard operating procedures.

Also, the programs that generate wetlands maps to help decide whether permits are issued and maintain a database inventory of rare plants and animals operate outside of the DEP's oversight system.

-----

Thanks Jersey City Independent.
http://www.jerseycityindependent.com/ ... -morning-news-roundup-36/

Posted on: 2009/8/30 12:12
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Re: Those who know Garfield Avenue call government informant's bait of $500,000 condo units 'ludicrous'
#8
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Quite a regular


Oh man, where to begin. JJ you should check your facts. First of all the eight story building Antonicello refers to is not 900 Garfield but an odd number approx 835, it's a block away on the other side of the street. And the new redevelopment plan has buildings 8-12 stories (with residential). In fact if you read the canal crossings plan, the 900 lot has 8-12 story residential buildings. The whole area does. And as for obtaining density variances, well, need I tell anyone this is not that hard? Also, water front property for $500k? Not sure, but that sounds on the cheap. And quoting homes for sale for $23k? C'mon! Such bias when it comes to Greenville JJ. Shame on you. JJ Spends more time reporting negative Greenville stories than they do world news Jersey City alleged federal crimes. And to suggest that this was obvious cause of the contamination, then why is that 900 lot slated for residential condos? Such ambiguity! Also, read the complaint alleging the crimes. It talks about the residents resistance and even seems to make reference to Viola Richardson. Everyone should do yourselves a favor and read Jersey City Independent. Much better Journalism.

Posted on: 2009/8/11 22:56
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PPG and Chromium in Jersey City - Garfield Avenue - Good Journalism
#9
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Disposal Fail: Chromium-Contaminated Barrels Languished on Site Owned by Jersey City By Jon Whiten ? Jun 26th, 2009 ? Category: Featured, News Resized Image At 824 Garfield Ave., the Jersey City Incinerator Authority stores salt for roads in the winter. But new tests show toxic materials have been stored there for several years as well. Along the Eastern end of the site, which is at the corner of Carteret Avenue, there sat three barrels until yesterday. Environmental advocates, who had for years seen the containers, stored across the street from PPG Industries? chromium-contaminated site, recently noticed that one of the barrels was punctured and speculated that it too was contaminated. ?We knew when we saw yellowish crystals around the first hole, which usually indicate pretty high levels of hexavalent chromium,? Joe Morris, director of the chromium cleanup project for the Interfaith Community Organization (ICO), says. Morris and GRACO president Felicia Collis, accompanied by this reporter, visited the site on June 12 to take samples from the open container (see video below). Morris sent them off to a lab, which used Method 3060/7196, a testing process approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) but which Morris ? and many scientists ? maintains undercounts contamination. The results show hexavalent chromium present in the soil sample at a rate of 606 parts per million (ppm). That?s 30 times higher than the DEP?s current standard of 20 ppm, and more than 600 times higher than standards recently recommended by the DEP?s own scientists. Especially troubling is that it was ? until yesterday ? sitting on city-owned property, spilling out of a rusty barrel. ?That drum?s in bad shape ? it has holes in it,? Morris says. ?There?s nothing to stop material from leaking out of the drum.? Collis expresses bewilderment at Jersey City?s lack of due diligence at the site. She says the ?green? image the administration tries so hard to promote stands in stark contrast to it allowing these drums stand with punctures on property it owns. ?Jersey City fails to be deliberate about lessening chromium exposure by refraining from cleaning up and fencing its own JCIA property,? Collis says. ?Taking care of the homefront sets a precedent for local and outside polluters to do the same.? Morris adds that it fits the pattern of neglect that PPG, the city and the state have had for the area. ?It?s a symbol of the city and the DEP?s inattention to this issue, and PPG?s contempt for people in that neighborhood,? Morris says. He adds that he?s unsure about how long the containers have been at the site, but says he has seen them there ?for several years.? Collis and Morris hand-delivered a letter to PPG?s Jersey City office yesterday asking them to expeditiously remove the contaminants. By Thursday evening, PPG?s Jon Holt told Collis that the drums were removed from the JCIA site. Jersey City spokeperson Jennifer Morrill says the city did not know about the drums until yesterday, when they were informed by PPG. She says they have a hunch about where the drums came from, but aren?t 100 percent sure. ?While we believe these drums are the consequence of soil testing conducted by a prospective developer, the Jersey City Police Department is conducting an investigation into the matter,? Morrill says. The city?s response leaves Morris with one question: What took them so long to find these drums, which he?s seen on site for years? ?You would think the city would inventory its properties, and at least do the minimum to protect public health,? he says. ?It?s telling that it took a group of citizens with very few resources to figure out that there were barrels of chromium-contaminated soil sitting on a city-owned lot.?

Testing for Chromium Contamination on a Site Owned by Jersey City from The Jersey City Independent on Vimeo.

At 824 Garfield Ave., the Jersey City Incinerator Authority stores salt for roads in the winter. But new tests show toxic materials have been stored there for several years as well. Along the Eastern end of the site, which is at the corner of Carteret Avenue, there sat three barrels until yesterday. Environmental advocates, who had for years seen the containers, stored across the street from PPG Industries? chromium-contaminated site, recently noticed that one of the barrels was punctured and speculated that it too was contaminated. ?We knew when we saw yellowish crystals around the first hole, which usually indicate pretty high levels of hexavalent chromium,? Joe Morris, director of the chromium cleanup project for the Interfaith Community Organization (ICO), says. Morris and GRACO president Felicia Collis, accompanied by this reporter, visited the site on June 12 to take samples from the open container (see video below). Morris sent them off to a lab, which used Method 3060/7196, a testing process approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) but which Morris ? and many scientists ? maintains undercounts contamination. The results show hexavalent chromium present in the soil sample at a rate of 606 parts per million (ppm). That?s 30 times higher than the DEP?s current standard of 20 ppm, and more than 600 times higher than standards recently recommended by the DEP?s own scientists. Especially troubling is that it was ? until yesterday ? sitting on city-owned property, spilling out of a rusty barrel. ?That drum?s in bad shape ? it has holes in it,? Morris says. ?There?s nothing to stop material from leaking out of the drum.? Collis expresses bewilderment at Jersey City?s lack of due diligence at the site. She says the ?green? image the administration tries so hard to promote stands in stark contrast to it allowing these drums stand with punctures on property it owns. ?Jersey City fails to be deliberate about lessening chromium exposure by refraining from cleaning up and fencing its own JCIA property,? Collis says. ?Taking care of the homefront sets a precedent for local and outside polluters to do the same.? Morris adds that it fits the pattern of neglect that PPG, the city and the state have had for the area. ?It?s a symbol of the city and the DEP?s inattention to this issue, and PPG?s contempt for people in that neighborhood,? Morris says. He adds that he?s unsure about how long the containers have been at the site, but says he has seen them there ?for several years.? Collis and Morris hand-delivered a letter to PPG?s Jersey City office yesterday asking them to expeditiously remove the contaminants. By Thursday evening, PPG?s Jon Holt told Collis that the drums were removed from the JCIA site. Jersey City spokeperson Jennifer Morrill says the city did not know about the drums until yesterday, when they were informed by PPG. She says they have a hunch about where the drums came from, but aren?t 100 percent sure. ?While we believe these drums are the consequence of soil testing conducted by a prospective developer, the Jersey City Police Department is conducting an investigation into the matter,? Morrill says. The city?s response leaves Morris with one question: What took them so long to find these drums, which he?s seen on site for years? ?You would think the city would inventory its properties, and at least do the minimum to protect public health,? he says. ?It?s telling that it took a group of citizens with very few resources to figure out that there were barrels of chromium-contaminated soil sitting on a city-owned lot.? http://www.jerseycityindependent.com/ ... ite-owned-by-jersey-city/

Posted on: 2009/7/7 15:13
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Re: PPG and Chromium in Jersey City - Garfield Avenue
#10
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Quite a regular


People do not get cancer just walking near Chromium-6, he said. They may never get sick, even if they live next to it their entire lives. It comes down to risk factors that depend on degrees of exposure and individual health traits. Still, Costa said with Chromium-6, the goal is to have as low a level as possible.

"If you ingest enough of it, you get cancer," Costa said.

Other experts warn against developing a new soil standard from the Chromium-6 water study.

"There is no question about the carcinogenicity of hexavalent chromium," said Ted Simon, a former toxicologist for the federal Environmental Protection Agency. "But the risk assessment process tries to push it."

He said New Jersey's water standard for Chromium-6 contamination equals a soil standard of 17,000 parts per million.

"The average person drinks about two liters of water per day. ... To reach the same intake, the same dose, you would have to eat or incidentally ingest almost seven ounces of tainted soil per day," Simon said.

Others counter that the state water standard also is too lax -- and that the state needs to keep in mind the hundreds of additional carcinogens people are exposed to each day.

"You're not just worried about chromium, but so many different assaults on us in New Jersey be cause of the kind of state we are," said Zoe Kelman, a former DEP scientist. "It's the synergistic effect of all the types of pollution and carcinogens we live with."

Legal efforts are ongoing in Hudson to push Honeywell International, PPG Industries and Occidental Petroleum to remove and cart away the contaminated soil left behind by predecessor compa nies. PPG struck a recent deal to clean 14 Hudson County lots, including a 16.6-acre former chromite ore plant on Garfield Avenue in Jersey City, at whatever the DEP establishes as the new standard.

For now, PPG has banked $200 million for the project.
"Our first order of business is to get it all remediated, get it cleaned up and do it on PPG's dime," said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy. But he was concerned an "unnecessarily strict" new standard could undo some of the 50 other projects thought to be finished -- and render nearly 60 more remaining cleanups in the city financially impossible.

"The stuff," as Healy and his corporate counsel, Bill Matsidkou dis, call it, is everywhere.

Matsidkoudis said, if the standard is too tough, the entire city will need a cleanup.

Paul Lioy, director of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers University, said any cleanup has to be done rationally.

"Otherwise you bulldoze all of Jersey City and that would be totally inappropriate. ... It comes down to how clean is clean, and it depends on what you decide is a level to protect the public health and at the same time to be able to use a site," said Lioy.

But striking that balance can be like hitting a moving target, he ex plained.

New Jersey has one official standard, set in law, for allowable pub lic exposure to any carcinogen: no more than 1 in 1million people should risk getting cancer during a lifetime of exposure. Yet different carcinogens meet that threshold in different amounts -- and the science often changes as research progresses.

The DEP tolerance for Chromium-6 in residential communities is 240 ppm, and in February 2007 the DEP revised the standard for cleaning sites to be used for hous ing, schools and commerce to 20 ppm. State scientists now contend the DEP standard for acceptable levels of Chromium-6 in the soil should be set at 1 ppm.

Costa of New York University said to justify tougher standards, New Jersey must find the extent to which people in places like Jersey City are being exposed to Chromium-6. He and Jersey City officials are discussing a study of red blood cells in children and adults living near the PPG plant.

The only state study to date has been a statistical analysis of lung cancer cases in Jersey City from 1979 through 2003. It showed higher cancer rates among people living near polluted sites, but could not link that to Chromium-6.

Posted on: 2009/6/12 15:15
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Tougher carcinogen limits are pushed
#11
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Quite a regular


New Jersey scientists are urging the state to adopt the strictest levels ever for Chromium-6, the deadly carcinogen linked to lung cancer and which contaminates more than 200 former industrial properties in Hudson County.

The tougher standard could affect cleanup efforts either proposed or under way for more than 70 contaminated sites -- and renew scru tiny of an estimated 130 tainted properties in Hudson County already "cleaned" and redeveloped under older criteria.

Mark Mauriello, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, could announce whether he will accept the new standard as early as today, and there are concerns the costs of "re- cleaning" some sites could be staggering.

The scientific report calls for soil cleanup standards 20 times more stringent than soil standards adopted in 2007, and 240 times more stringent than older standards applied to past cleanups -- including work on a 32-acre Jersey City site known as the Roosevelt Drive-In, which has already cost $450 million and is a year away from completion.

The state's Division of Science, Research and Technology called for a new soil standard for Chromium-6, also known as hexavalent chromium, in an April report after the National Toxicology Program linked greater incidence of cancer in lab mice to Chromium-6 tainted drinking water.

Environmental activists, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the New Jersey Sierra Club, have accused the DEP of resisting tighter standards for fear it could stop redevelopment of Hudson County's shoreline fronting the New York City skyline, known as New Jersey's "Gold Coast."

DEP officials deny any such agenda.

"Why would the administration want to do that? It's ludicrous," DEP spokeswoman Elaine Maka tura said. "Nothing is more impor tant in this administration and the DEP than the public health."

Fueling criticism, however, is what environmentalists labeled a "gag order" imposed June 1 on DEP employees after the Chromium-6 report was made public through an Open Public Records Act request. They were told they cannot release internal reports be fore the material is finalized by administrators and the press office -- even if it is the subject of an OPRA request.

Chromium-6 has been linked to lung cancer among workers at chromite ore refinement plants, such as the three defunct operations in Hudson County that left behind various levels of Chromium- 6. It was the culprit in the drinking water for people in Hinkley, Calif., whose struggle was portrayed in the Julia Roberts movie "Erin Brockovich."

Mark Mauriello, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, could announce whether he will accept the new standard as early as today, and there are concerns the costs of "re- cleaning" some sites could be staggering.

The scientific report calls for soil cleanup standards 20 times more stringent than soil standards adopted in 2007, and 240 times more stringent than older standards applied to past cleanups -- including work on a 32-acre Jersey City site known as the Roosevelt Drive-In, which has already cost $450 million and is a year away from completion.

The state's Division of Science, Research and Technology called for a new soil standard for Chromium-6, also known as hexavalent chromium, in an April report after the National Toxicology Program linked greater incidence of cancer in lab mice to Chromium-6 tainted drinking water.

Environmental activists, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the New Jersey Sierra Club, have accused the DEP of resisting tighter standards for fear it could stop redevelopment of Hudson County's shoreline fronting the New York City skyline, known as New Jersey's "Gold Coast."

DEP officials deny any such agenda.

"Why would the administration want to do that? It's ludicrous," DEP spokeswoman Elaine Maka tura said. "Nothing is more impor tant in this administration and the DEP than the public health."

Fueling criticism, however, is what environmentalists labeled a "gag order" imposed June 1 on DEP employees after the Chromium-6 report was made public through an Open Public Records Act request. They were told they cannot release internal reports be fore the material is finalized by administrators and the press office -- even if it is the subject of an OPRA request.

Chromium-6 has been linked to lung cancer among workers at chromite ore refinement plants, such as the three defunct operations in Hudson County that left behind various levels of Chromium- 6. It was the culprit in the drinking water for people in Hinkley, Calif., whose struggle was portrayed in the Julia Roberts movie "Erin Brockovich."

(continued...)

Posted on: 2009/6/12 15:10
 Top 


Re: NJDEP and Corzine - Perfect together.
#12
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New Jersey keeping environmental records under wraps
Posted by The Star-Ledger Editorial Board June 05, 2009 5:33AM
Categories: Environment, Policy Watch, Politics

SETH WENIG/FOR THE STAR-LEDGER
The defunct Standard Chlorine factory on the banks of the Hackensack River is built on a landfill of chromium, a carcinogenic agent.
In April we learned that a Department of Environmental Protection report concluded the state's standard for levels of hexavalent chromium in soil is 240 times higher than it should be. The report was leaked to the press, just before it was due to be released in response to a request filed under the Open Public Records Act.

The DEP hasn't yet decided whether to change its chromium standard. But it is moving to place similar reports beyond the reach of the public and the media for as long as it takes the department to ponder them.

An internal memo (also leaked to the press) outlines procedures for releasing information that environmental advocates have characterized as a "gag order." Department spokeswoman Elaine Makatura says the procedures are not a reaction to the release of the chromium report. But both the timing and the substance are troubling.

Under these rules, scientific reports like the chromium finding would not be released until after they are reviewed by other experts, either inside or outside the department. Then they must be approved by program managers, and if there's a "hot topic" involved, the commissioner must be notified. The last step: Approval from the DEP communications office.

Until they get all the way through this process, reports will be labeled "deliberative material," which exempts them from the open records act.

To be sure, DEP has every right to its internal discussions. Scientific findings and raw data need to be reviewed and analyzed. No one wants to alarm the public about soil and water contaminants or air pollution with incomplete research and half-baked theories. But time is of the essence. DEP needs to put in place timelines as well as guidelines.

Makatura said the chromium report was not ready for release because acting DEP commissioner Mark Mauriello had not fully vetted its recommendations. And when will the commissioner decide whether to adopt a new chromium standard? She couldn't say. In the meantime, under the proposed guidelines, we'd still be in the dark about the final report of the department's own scientists on the inadequacy of the current standard.

We'd hate to find out that a politically inconvenient report languished in limbo because it never emerged from its "deliberative material" draft status. That could become a burial ground for recommendations that are difficult or costly to implement.

A public agency should err on the side of transparency. DEP should give the public and the media credit for understanding the review process. The answer isn't to cloak deliberation and discussion in secrecy, but to better explain the procedures by which important decisions are made.

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COMMENTS (4)Post a comment
Posted by nohesitation on 06/05/09 at 10:08AM
Dear editors:

Nice job! I agree!

Wolfe

Inappropriate? Alert us. Post a commentPosted by mcmid on 06/05/09 at 11:24AM
What's Corzine's take on this? After all, he hired the people instituting the process. Once again, Corzine's idea of open and transparent government is to leave the citizens out.

Inappropriate? Alert us. Post a commentPosted by nohesitation on 06/05/09 at 12:56PM
Hey mcmid - I agree with you to a cerrtain egree: Corzine should be asked point blank by the media if he supports this DEP policy.

Yesterday, I ran into DEP Commissioner Mauriello at a Corzine press event in NYC and sked him point blank if he supported the Herb memo (which set the policy).

Instead of answering that question, Mauriello made up some lame story that the memo was only draft.

I called DEP pres office to ask for a copy of this cover memo - one would assume they would provide it, given it could show the Ledger story as wrong and put DEP in a beter light.

DEP has not responded and returned my call.

I call BS on Mauriello's dissembling cover story!

Inappropriate? Alert us. Post a commentPosted by JerseyOpine on 06/05/09 at 7:07PM
"We'd hate to find out that a politically inconvenient report languished in limbo "

Agreed. So, let's see how the S-L stays on this story & follows it up.

Posted on: 2009/6/10 17:53
 Top 


NJDEP and Corzine - Perfect together.
#13
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Quite a regular


DEP compromises scientific integrity and public health
Posted by Bill Wolfe June 02, 2009 9:04AM
DEP issues a "gag order" on internal review and restrictions on public release of scientific studies

[Update - 6/5/09 - Star Ledger editorial shares my concern: New Jersey keeping environmental records under wraps
http://blog.nj.com/njv_editorial_page ... _keeping_environment.html

Today's Star Ledger reports:



Bill Wolfe
Environmentalists rip DEP proposal as a 'gag order'
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
BY BRIAN T. MURRAY
Star-Ledger Staff

The state Department of Environmental Protection proposed restrictions yesterday on the public release of its scientific studies and reports, which environmental groups lambasted as a sweeping "gag order" spurred by a controversy over chromium pollution in Hudson County.

The commotion surrounds written guidelines from Jeanne Herb, the DEP's director of policy, planning and science, against employees disclosing technical and scientific reports -- even if they are the subject of an Open Public Records Act request -- until they are approved by upper management and the press office. The directive follows the April release of a report by DEP scientists concluding a new, stricter soil cleanup standard is needed for hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6, because the cancer-causing substance is riskier than previously believed.
http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/ ... 43915636194930.xml&coll=1

(more on the flip)

The Washington DC based watchdog group PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility) blew the whistle on this DEP attempt to suppress and politically control science. In a press release, PEER disclosed the leaked DEP memo, written by Jeanne Herb who works in the DEP Commissioner's Office as Director of Policy, Planning and Science:

NEW JERSEY SLAPS GAG ORDER ON ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTISTS -- Embarrassing Chromium Study Prompts Management Review of Scientific Findings
http://www.peer.org/news/news_id.php?row_id=1199

The DEP memo can be read here:
http://www.peer.org/docs/nj/09_01_06_njdep_gag_memo.pdf

I will be writing more on this and providing examples that can illustrate why this is so corrupt and how it allows polluters to benefit at the expense of public health.

But for now, I'd like to make a few points:

The DEP press flack defends the Order with the following deeply cynical pack of lies:

"This department is completely transparent. What is being discussed here are copies of draft reports that come out before they are finalized or even peer reviewed," said DEP spokeswoman Elaine Makatura. "What is wrong with suggesting that scientific reports, with the material they contain, be finalized before they are released? It's not to say that the information won't come out."

First of all, the Gag Order itself is not transparent because it is stamped "deliberative". This is done to exploit a loophole in the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) that exempts "deliberative" documents. The word "deliberative" has a legal meaning related to documents intended to support agency decisions. The Gag Order was not "deliberative" and it supported no decisions. Instead, it directed DEP staff to comply with specific requirements before scientific documents are released to the public. For the same reason, corrupt tobacco industry managers used to copy lawyers on scientific studies that proved that smoking caused cancer, to keep those studies secret under the "attorney client" privilege. The asbestos and chemical industry did this as well. Now a public agency, DEP, is engaging in these same transparently corrupt practices.

Second of all, the whole purpose of the Gag Order was to restrict public release of scientific information and allow DEP press office and political appointees to review, modify, and suppress science that did not fit the policy or political agenda of DEP or the Governor. Until and unless a DEP scientific document met their political, media and management approvals, it remained "draft" and was prohibited from release and exempt from OPRA. DEP managers could sit on a study virtually forever. The whole point of the Gag order was to reduce transparency and frustrate public right to know, which are the purposes of OPRA. To now claim that DEP is "completely transparent" is beyond Orwell, and a lie so large that it should be grounds for dismissal of any public servant.

Third, this has nothing to do with scientific peer review. The Gag Order established specific procedures for internal DEP political, press office, and management review. To claim that this is related to scientific peer review is another egregious lie.

Fourth, reminiscent of Pontius Pilate, Makatura cynically asks:

"What is wrong with suggesting that scientific reports, with the material they contain, be finalized before they are released?"

The answer is that there is PLENTY WRONG.

When a report is written by a research scientist, and then "finalized" by a group of DEP press officers, political appointees, and managers, it destroys scientific integrity. The Bush administration was pilloried for how they allowed political hacks to tone down the findings and revise scientific reports on global warming to fit the Bush political message and policy. The DEP Gag Order actually is worse than the Bush Adminstration's corrupt practices.

For specific examples of the michief allowed under the DEP Gag Order, consider this:

"* In September 2002, the [Bush] Administration removed a section on climate change from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) annual air pollution report. This report had contained a section on climate change for the past five years.

* The New York Times reported that the White House tried to force the EPA to substantially alter another report on climate change in 2003. Interviews with current and former EPA staff revealed that the Administration demanded a number of amendments including the insertion of a discredited study of temperature records which was funded in part by the American Petroleum Institute."
For Full Report, see:

Scientific Integrity in Policy Making - Investigation of the Bush administration's abuse of science
http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_inte ... scientific-integrity.html

More to follow on this story. Let's hope this story has legs, and inquisitive journalists start asking DEP tough questions about specific studies that are impacted by the Gag Order. For startes, here are some examples from the Bush Administration:
http://www.rhtp.org/science/documents ... fic_Integrity_at_Risk.pdf


* Full disclosure: I worked with Jeanne Herb while at DEP from 2002-2004 and with PEER as NJ PEER Director from 2005-2008.

[Note: can't seem to post this comment reply to mcmid, so I will put it in the body of the post:

mcmid - I share you concern about how the NJ environmental groups endorse political candidates. They set the bar way too low and then withhold criticism of those they endorse. This allows politicians to enjoy a "green" image without earning it and sometimes allows then to be hostile to the environment without accountability.

But the blame for all of Corzine's environmental failures can't be lain at their feet. The business community and the legislature exert constant pressure on DEP to be more "business friendly" and to not enforce environmental laws.

Plus, DEP has been under miserable leadership and management for years, and had budgets persistently slashed.

I assume that Corzine is not aware of DEP's Gag Order, so it is tough to blame him for it. The media should ask him if he supports it or will order its revocation and replacement with real transparency and public right to know, as mandated by OPRA.
In terms of who the enviro's will back in November, that seems obvious because the Republican candidates are bashing DEP and have no environmental platforms.
Last, I am not affiliated with any environmental group, have not endorsed Corzine, and have written extensive criticism of his policies here. So, I don't know who you are referring to when you say "you" have no one to blame but yourself. I assume you are not targeting me.
Wolfe

Tags: corporate access, corruption, DEP, OPRA, public health, right to know, scientific integrity
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COMMENTS (7)Post a comment
Posted by mcmid on 06/02/09 at 9:57AM
It's just more open and transparent government, courtesy of Corzine. Would you like to bet who the environmental groups will back this November? You ahve no one to blame but yourselves.

Inappropriate? Alert us. Post a commentPosted by DEPEngineer on 06/02/09 at 1:41PM
I feel like I'm living in a George Orwell novel. I want to wake up and find it was just nightmare.

If Jeanne Herb acted on her own - she has to be fired. What are her qualifications to interpret and then determine whether science should be public or not? Wait we pay our taxes to support scientists to do their job. No one has the authority to take that away. Especially someone who wasn't elected.

What are Herb's qualifications to head research scientists? Someone thought she was just a journalist. Are tax dollars being spent on journalist instead of scientists?

If you are going to cut staff at DEP - start with the liberal arts degrees.

Inappropriate? Alert us. Post a commentPosted by ZoharLaor on 06/02/09 at 1:45PM
What a disgrace to the state!

Shame for all of us for paying a premium price for less than mediocre administrators to run our state. Administrators who see their first civic duty as pushing through political agendas instead of adhering to their position of public advocates.

DEPEngineer - it sure would be nice if someone inside the DEP sent hidden reports to be published.


Inappropriate? Alert us. Post a commentPosted by nohesitation on 06/02/09 at 2:04PM
Dear DEPEngineer - Orwell knew that control of information was the coin of the realm in politics and political and economic power.

You raise very interesting points - it is not clear whetehr Herb was acting on her own or following orders. I agree that if she was acting on her own, she should be fired. I do not know her academic background, but having worked with her I know she is not technically trained. I also know that Herb is a political appointee and holdover from the McGreevey Administration.


Inappropriate? Alert us. Post a commentPosted by nohesitation on 06/02/09 at 2:08PM
Dear ZoharLaor - Thanks, I share your outrage over crap like this.

The concept of the public interest has been missing from DEP for many years. It is a self serving bureaucracy full of careerists out for themselves, not public servants.

I am working on some reports suppressed under this Gag Order and will report on a MAJOR one very soon.

More shoes to drop on this story.

If any DEP staffer have more specific documents, please send with complete annonimity to me at

PO Box #1
Ringoes, NJ
08551

or via email bill_wolfe@comcast.net

Wolfe

Inappropriate? Alert us. Post a commentPosted by DEPEngineer on 06/02/09 at 2:47PM
Environmentalists should start requesting reports and documents now through OPRA on all developments, contaminated sites, and environmental permits before they are considered deliberative. There is no guarantee information on contaminated sites will be available once the program is taken over by private contractors.

You may buy a property on a brownfield site - and later find out toxic vapors are coming into your home. That happens.

Inappropriate? Alert us. Post a commentPosted by 14yrbumpkin on 06/02/09 at 9:06PM
And the people that they have writing the regs for the licensed site remediation "professionals" are the same suckups that promoted the LSRP in the first place. And the person writing the groundwater regs has NEVER run a groundwater investigation herself and wouldn't know which end of a drilling rig goes in the ground.

Posted on: 2009/6/10 17:52
 Top 


Is Healy Supporting Environmental Injustice?
#14
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Quite a regular


Don't approve of the Hyman tactics or his motives. But Healy seems to support environmental injustice as demonstrated in Ward-F. This whole chromium issue speaks volumes to ward-f residents. Why would anyone with a conscious put politics over peoples lives? Healy needs to address this prior to the election. The recommendation is 1 PPM yet Healy says 20 PPM is fine inside residential homes for people who live in ward-f as seen in this video that has since been deleted. Healy Chromium Survey - Jersey City Conflict with April 8, 2009 Scientific NTP Report Does he know better than the science? N.J. scientists say allowable standard for carcinogen in soil is too high

Posted on: 2009/5/6 17:26
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Re: Healy's raised $3 Million while Dan Levin and Phillip Webb have raised about $17,000 - combined.
#15
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PPG's Market Cap = 7.1 Billion They are being let off the hook by a shady agreement while they continue to make people (children) in Jersey City sick. Current admin has lots of cash. Congratulations. No one in any of the debates even mentions this thing. Truly unbelievable. In NJ, a Contaminant More Toxic Than Thought by Bob Hennelly

Posted on: 2009/4/29 11:24
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It's a Cover-Up, Little to No Info From City Hall or NJDEP
#16
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Quite a regular



Posted on: 2009/4/28 16:37

Edited by Webmaster on 2010/12/3 19:30:41
Edited by Webmaster on 2010/12/3 19:39:24
Edited by Webmaster on 2010/12/3 19:40:29
 Top 


Why did Corzine withhold DEP report?
#17
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Why did Corzine withhold DEP report?
April 23, 2009 ? 6:55 am
By Bob Ingle

http://blogs.app.com/politicspatrol/2009/04/23/3631/

Lisa Jackson
A new NJ Department of Environmental Protection report says our state?s standards are more than 200 times laxer for chromium in the soil than needed to protect health. Chromium in soil is associated with cancer. But hold your cheers for the DEP. The report was finished April 8. The Washington-based Public Employees for Environmental Protection said ?The new risk assessment came to light because of a state public records request filed by Zoe Kelman, a former NJDEP chemical engineer, who resigned in disgust after her warnings about chromium migrating off completed sites and likely coming into direct contact with residents and workers were ignored.? It continues: ?Last week, NJDEP closed public comment on a controversial chromium cleanup settlement for Jersey City sites owned by PPG Industries. This new risk assessment was completed on April 8th but was not given to the community and was released to Ms. Kelman after the April 15th comment deadline passed.?

PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, ?This assessment validates the alarms sounded by Zoe Kelman. Yet, despite repeated wake-up calls on chromium dangers, New Jersey continues on snooze control.?

Kelman said she was removed from chromium-related issues and denied meaningful work by then-DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson after she voiced concerns. Jackson now heads the federal EPA.

New Jersey sites are contaminated because of old industrial operations. Hexavalent chromium is the substance against which Erin Brockovich campaigned in California.

In 2003, former Sen. Bob Torricelli was appointed by federal Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh in Newark to oversee an environmental cleanup project in Jersey City. Torricelli is paid by Honeywell International to clean up a 34-acre site contaminated by chromium. The judge?s order also authorizes Torricelli to hire professional and technical personnel who also will be paid by Honeywell. The site was contaminated by a chemical plant that pumped waste into wetlands along the Hackensack River, which Honeywell must also clean.

Posted on: 2009/4/27 21:40
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Star Ledger Editorial - Chromium: DEP should clean New Jersey's 'chrome coast'
#18
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Quite a regular


Chromium: DEP should clean New Jersey's 'chrome coast'
Posted by The Star-Ledger Editorial Board April 27, 2009 5:56AM

Categories: Environment
In 2004, The Star-Ledger documented how three major companies successfully lobbied the state Department of Environmental Protection over a decade to relax its limits on chromium and delay cleanup of contaminated sites.

By engaging their own scientist and spinning doubt about how much was actually known about chromium's dangers, Honeywell, PPG and Maxus Energy saved about $1 billion in potential cleanup costs.

Hudson County residents have born the brunt of delays in measuring the true extent of contamination.


Three chromium plants operated in the county for about 50 years; the last one closed in 1976. Over the decades, Jersey City residents have seen rainwater pooled on the ground with a green and yellow tinge ("like Mountain Dew," one said), and children playing on ballfields suffered from unexplained rashes.

Hexavalent chromium, the most dangerous form, is a byproduct of a refining process that produces paint pigments and bumper plating, among other things, and has been linked to lung and other cancers for about 80 years. It is the same contaminant that spurred Erin Brockovich into action, helping to win a multi-million dollar suit for residents of a small California town.

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control reported that people who live near the contaminated sites in Hudson County have higher rates of lung cancer. In addition to the risk from inhalation, the National Toxicology Program of the federal Department of Health and Human Services last year confirmed a link between oral ingestion of chromium and cancer.

With the latest evidence in hand, state scientists at DEP's Division of Science, Research and Technology this week concluded the state's current standard for an allowable amount of chromium in the soil of residential areas is 240 times higher than it should be.

Two years ago the state adopted a stricter standard for sites being cleaned up for new schools or homes, where the dirt is churned up by construction. But the new report says even that limit is 20 times too high.

Now DEP acting commissioner Mark Mauriello must decide whether to adopt the more stringent limit, stick with the current rules or come up with a compromise.

It's time for DEP to finally listen to its staff scientists on the issue of chromium. Public health and safety have been compromised for too long.

It's also time for a long-overdue reckoning with DEP's abysmal record on this issue.

Cleanup at one Jersey City site began in 2005 only after the Interfaith Community Organization sued in federal court. In ordering the cleanup, the court blasted DEP: "The evidence demonstrates a substantial breakdown in the agency process that has resulted in 20 years of permanent clean-up inaction."

Joe Morris, the ICO organizer in Jersey City, welcomed the news of a proposed tougher standard for chromium remediation but added, "It took them 23 months too long."

According to Morris, DEP delayed revising its standards while continuing to announce settlements under the old, less rigorous standard. Just this February, it announced a settlement with PPG to clean up chromium contamination at 14 sites in Jersey City, Weehawken and Bayonne within five years.

Mauriello should delay no longer in adopting the tougher standards on chromium.

No doubt that will make cleanups more expensive. But as Nancy Marks of the National Resources Defense Council puts it, "Someone has to bear the cost. Whether it's a health cost, government cost or profits, someone has to pay."

Developers like Josh Wuestneck are watching closely. He is a senior vice-president at Applied Development Co., which does large-scale projects involving brownfields in polluted urban areas that depend on the Honeywells and PPGs of the world to do the right thing and cleanup before developers like himself move in. His company has projects in the Jersey City area -- some completed, others still underway.

"Any change in remediation standards certainly affects redevelopment," he said. "It's the uncertainty that becomes a problem." The concern for developers like Wuestneck is that DEP could reopen settled cases. Some projects had chromium-contaminated soil capped; others had it carted away.

"The paramount issue is protecting public safety," Wuestneck said. "We stay out of the debate about science. That's DEP's job."

And so it is.

Mauriello, in a DEP press release announcing the PPG settlement, said "I grew up in Jersey City and know firsthand the frustration felt by people who have had to live with chromium contamination."

He could do his hometown proud by leading DEP to finally do the right thing.


COMMENTS (1)Post a comment

Posted by 14yrbumpkin on 04/27/09 at 10:20AM

You have one date wrong. It wasn't last week that the DEP decided the old standards were not stringent enough. An April 8 memo by Eileen Murphy to Mauriello confirmed that DEP's scientists agreed with an even older report produced by an interagency group. Eileen Murphy has been fired since that memo appeared. There has been stonewalling on this issue by DEP going back years. And behind-the-scenes machinations such as former Assistant Commissioner for Site Remediation Evan Van Hook now being employed in a top position at Honeywell and former Sen. Torricelli being named a "special master" for a site by the court. It is the stuff of its own movie except no one could follow the twists and turns in the plot line. The Sierra Club and the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) as well as the ICO have been fighting a long fight with about one hundredth of the resources of the Responsible Parties involved. The public needs to start paying attention because DEP employees know what happens when they speak up.

Posted on: 2009/4/27 15:06
 Top 


Chromium Far Deadlier Than Earlier Assessments Indicate
#19
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Quite a regular


Chromium Far Deadlier Than Earlier Assessments Indicate Scores of Capped New Jersey Contaminated Sites Will Have to Be Re-Evaluated http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/04/22-1 WASHINGTON - April 22 - A new risk assessment concludes that even a miniscule amount of chromium in the soil is associated with carcinogenicity, according to documents posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Current New Jersey standards are more than 200 times laxer than these new findings indicate are needed to protect public health. The "Risk Assessment for Hexavalent Chromium" performed for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) was finalized on April 8, 2009. Its key conclusion is - "Based on exposure assumptions for the oral exposure pathway in the NJDEP Soil Remediation Standards, this potency factor corresponds to a soil remediation criterion for Cr+6 of 1 ppm". This 1 part-per-million finding raises serious questions about the current New Jersey soil clean-up remediation standard for residential areas of 240 ppm (6100 ppm non-residential). That means that families living in areas meeting state remediation standards may still be at significant risk. New Jersey has many chromium-contaminated sites from old industrial operations. Hexavalent chromium is the same substance against which Erin Brockovich campaigned in California. The new risk assessment came to light because of a state public records request filed by Zoe Kelman, a former NJDEP chemical engineer, who resigned in disgust after her warnings about chromium migrating off completed sites and likely coming into direct contact with residents and workers were ignored. Last week, NJDEP closed public comment on a controversial chromium cleanup settlement for Jersey City sites owned by PPG Industries. This new risk assessment was completed on April 8th but was not given to the community and was released to Ms. Kelman after the April 15th comment deadline passed. "Withholding this critical public health information shows stunning official insensitivity to the residents of Jersey City and other affected communities," said Kelman, who was removed from chromium-related issues and denied meaningful work by then-DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson after she voiced concerns. "NJDEP has repeatedly shown that it is incapable of addressing needed remedies for chromium contamination in an honest and straightforward manner." This latest assessment only looked at the ingestion danger from chromium from dust or soil. A study released last fall looked at the inhalation danger and found greatly heightened risks of lung cancer from exposure to airborne chromium in the Jersey suburbs of the New York metropolitan area. "Contrary to state standards, these studies show there is virtually no safe exposure level for chromium," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that California is now preparing to adopt its own chromium standards. "This assessment validates the alarms sounded by Zoe Kelman. Yet, despite repeated wake-up calls on chromium dangers, New Jersey continues on snooze control." Read the Risk Assessment transmittal letter View the full Risk Assessment Compare New Jersey's chromium standards Look at the ignored warnings from DEP's own scientists See last fall's inhalation risk studies ### Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is a national alliance of local state and federal resource professionals. PEER's environmental work is solely directed by the needs of its members. As a consequence, we have the distinct honor of serving resource professionals who daily cast profiles in courage in cubicles across the country. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Chromium Survey = Deadly Wrong

Posted on: 2009/4/27 14:49
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Re: Mayoral debate last night
#20
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Quite a regular


Dear Mayor Healy, Your question: Your answer: Victims are hoping campaign contributions won't cloud your judgement when deciding the livelihood of "your people".

Posted on: 2009/4/24 17:38
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Healy and Chromium (Irrefutable Evidence)
#21
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Quite a regular


Conflicting videos, one from jc1tv and one from reputable scientist of NJDEP and NJN reporting it.

Video pulled from the http://www.jc1tv.com/ website today after yesterday's NTPStudy news release shows Healy with two E.O.H.S.I Drs.

You won't find it there anymoe...
Well, we cached it. And here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ9VwmrC-2U

Sampling household showed almost all homes had 20 PPM and these two scientist say it's safe for residences?

20 PPM is not even acceptable for Brownfield sites!

The NTP study says 1PPM.

As per yesterdays NJN Exclusive Report:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voNP1WdGvoU

Do the right thing for your constituents; Please reject the settlement agreement!

Bergen Record Story on New Chromium Standard
Tuesday, April 21, 2009 8:19 PM
http://www.northjersey.com/environmen ... _too_lax_.html?c=y&page=1

Star Ledger Story on New Chromium Standard
Tuesday, April 21, 2009 8:36 PM
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009 ... sts_say_allowable_st.html

Posted on: 2009/4/22 19:32
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Re: Dan Levin for Mayor
#22
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We need someone to work on Policy as Dan has demonstrated and not on Politics as we continue to see even on the backs of those to whom this current administration is obliged. We still have Reliable Recylcing and PPG lobbying OUR reps while the people are given less rights and access than the corporations who sponsor them. Any objective person would agree.

Posted on: 2009/4/10 14:57
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Re: Congrats Healy, now back to reality. Vote NO!
#23
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Been there done that... 20 years ago!

Oh yeah, Florio then went on to buy that lot for 1 million along with the NJ DEP Commisioner.

Let's not repeat, Major Healy. Do the right thing. No more shenanigans with people's lives!

The 80 Million dollars was returned to PPG by NJDEP.

1990 NJ PPG settlement you tube link (unbelievable)...

NJ, Jersey City and PPG perfect together.

Posted on: 2009/3/29 15:07
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Congrats Healy, now back to reality. Vote NO!
#24
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Quite a regular


Healy Gets Green Leadership Award

http://photos.nj.com/gallery/4505/Protesting%20PPG%20Industries

Resized Image


Voice your opposition to the politics of protecting PPG and instead creating a policy of protecting the citizens Jersey City. Our demands are a complete court administered cleanup (80 ft deep) including groundwater and fully financed by PPG.

Monday March 30th, 2009
7 PM
City Hall, Jersey City
280 Grove St.

Posted on: 2009/3/29 14:20
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Re: Jersey City Independent - continued
#25
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As we mentioned above, the settlement is currently in a 30-day public comment period, which will end on April 15. There is also a scheduled public meeting on the topic on Monday, March 30 at 7 pm at City Hall. If you wish to comment, you can mail your thoughts to: Thomas Cozzi, Assistant Director, NJDEP, 401 East State St., PO Box 028, Trenton NJ 08625.

After the public hearing, the settlement will have to go to the City Council for approval. ?When that happens depends upon the level of public comment and potential modification to the document,? Matsikoudis says. ?If we collectively agree to make changes based upon public comment, that drafting period may take a while.?



Tags: 900 Garfield Ave., Bill Matsikoudis, chromium, Department of Environmental Protection, environment, GRACO, Interfaith Community Organization, Joe Morris, NRDC, PPG Industries, Robert Harper, W. Michael McCabe

Posted on: 2009/3/20 15:18
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Jersey City Independent - continued
#26
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?The legal instrument was never the problem,? Morris says. ?The will was the problem.?

Matsikoudis says that this settlement ?is far superior to the ACO,? in part because it will be ?an enforceable court order,? but Morris is quick to point out that the ACO was also ?explicitly enforceable in court.? The problem, he says, was that the state never went to court to enforce it, and when it did, PPG deflected enforcement orders.

Community Groups Wary, Too

Morris and the NRDC aren?t the only ones up in arms over the proposed settlement.

?Jersey City is selling out the current and future residents of Ward F for $1 million,? Robert Harper says. As the director of the Garfield Avenue Chromium Coalition, Harper has been following the potential settlement with great interest.

?PPG doesn?t want to really clean it up,? he says. ?They?ve played games in court and with the DEP for decades. It?s beyond criminal.?

He compared the lack of action by PPG to combat the toxic chromium to the infamous U.S. Public Health Service studies on poor Southern blacks that studied the effects of syphilis.

?We?ve got a modern-day Tuskegee Experiment going on in Ward F,? he says. ?There should be people running around in hazmat suits over here.?

Ed Vergara of the community group known as GRACO (Garfield, Randolph, Arlington, Clerk, Claremont, Carteret, and Ocean) agrees that more action needs to be taken. He says the settlement is ?bogus,? which is why his organization retained environmental lawyer Stuart Lieberman to look into its own course of legal action.

Earlier this month, Lieberman and GRACO announced they were filing suit in state court to expedite the cleanup, but after a meeting with officials from the city, the DEP and PPG on Monday Lieberman says he is putting the suit on hold for 30 days.

?The city deserves credit? for doing something at the site after so many years of no action, he says. He is hoping to work some of the things he and GRACO are looking for ? like more extensive medical monitoring of residents close to chromium sites and guarantees that the settlement money go to the community around 900 Garfield Ave. ? into the city?s settlement during the 30-day public comment period.

Matsikoudis says that some medical monitoring is already in place (see related blog post), but he ?remains open to a more expansive medical monitoring procedure.? He also says the city ?will negotiate with the communities on how to distribute the funds,? adding that he ?tried like hell? to get the city more than $1 million but faced an uphill climb considering the current economic conditions.

Morris, who also met with the city, the DEP and PPG on Monday, left the meeting less optimistic than Lieberman.

?I didn?t hear anything that was reassuring,? he says. ?The refrain was ?trust us.? After this many years, ?trust us? is not a strategy.?

A Question of Standards

Even if the Garfield Avenue site is cleaned up in a timely manner in accordance with state DEP guidelines ? a big if, according to critics ? some argue that still may not be good enough for public health.

The DEP no longer has statewide cleanup standards, but relies on site-specific standards based on how much chromium is deemed to be present at a given site.

Matsikoudis says that the Garfield Avenue site will be cleaned up to the standard of no more than 20 parts-per-million down to 20 feet, a standard put in place by former DEP head Lisa Jackson. He adds that it will include no capping ? the practice of simply ?covering up? chromium waste by various mechanisms.

Morris says that 20 feet down is not nearly enough, because there are ?very high levels of chromium below that at the Garfield Avenue site.?

Proper cleanup of the site is especially important, Harper notes, because the recently-approved Canal Crossing Redevelopment Plan Area includes residential zoning at the Garfield Avenue site that is the epicenter of the chromium problem.

For now, the city and the state have tapped former Environmental Protection Agency deputy administrator W. Michael McCabe as the site administrator for Garfield Avenue.

McCabe says that while he?s ?inclined to take the job,? he wants to ?gauge the level of community support? before formally accepting the offer.

?I?ve seen communities where they?re never able to get beyond the oppositional politics that paralyzes movement forward,? he says. ?If that?s what this is about, life?s too short.?

McCabe explains that he understands residents? frustrations ? after all, they?ve seen a toxic site sit untouched for decades. He simply hopes that people are willing to work constructively towards the end goal of cleaning up the site.

He says he has full confidence that the settlement will end in a thorough and safe cleanup.

?I wouldn?t take the position unless I thought that was absolutely the case,? he says. ?I?m not going to put my reputation on the line to do a halfway job.?

While admitting that McCabe comes to this task with an impressive history, Morris argues that in the end, it doesn?t really matter.

?A resume is not a cleanup plan,? he says. ?It?s neither here nor there.? He notes that former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli has done a ?very good job? as the court-appointed special master of the Honeywell site, despite having no experience in environmental cleanup.

For Garfield Avenue, Morris says the plan ? not the person administering it ? is what is important, and in its current form the plan is just too vague.

?You could have Barack Obama as the site administrator,? he says, ?and we don?t know if anything would happen.?

Posted on: 2009/3/20 15:10
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Jersey City Independent
#27
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Quite a regular


Despite Settlement, Chromium Concerns ? and Lawsuits ? Continue
By Jon Whiten ? Mar 20th, 2009 ? Category: Lead Story, News

On Feb. 19, the city and the state announced, to great fanfare, that it had reached a settlement with PPG Industries, Inc. to clean up chromium along Garfield Avenue. ?TOXINS BE GONE? screamed the headline on the next day?s Jersey Journal.

?This settlement will give residents the peace of mind and better quality of life that comes with a cleaner, healthier neighborhood,? acting Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) commissioner Mark Mauriello said in a press release.

But as the settlement entered a one-month public comment period this week, many community members and environmental advocates say it isn?t tough enough, and some are continuing their own fights against what they call a rogue polluter.

Chromium?s Dirty Legacy

The chromium plant located on Garfield Avenue began operation in 1924, refining raw chromium ore into paint pigment and other items 24 hours a day. PPG purchased the facility in 1954 and ran it until its closing in the fall of 1963. Since then, it has sat largely untouched, a toxic hazard for the Jersey City residents who live or work near it.

Nearly three million tons of chromium ore processing residue (COPR) was produced at Hudson County?s three plants (one was located in Kearny), according to the DEP. Much of this COPR was given away to developers to use as fill material during construction in the 1950s and 60s.

The COPR produced by the sites includes chromium of the trivalent and hexavalent kind. Hexavalent chromium is known to cause lung cancer in humans, and has been linked to other types of cancer, including nasal, stomach and blood, in a number of studies. Trivalent chromium is more common, and while many consider it ?safe,? many scientists say it can ? and does ? convert to hexavalent chromium in nature. A recent study by the state DEP found that the rate of lung cancer incidence near chromium sites was 7-17 percent higher than in other areas of Jersey City.

Joe Morris is a veteran of local battles over chromium. As the director of the chromium cleanup project for the Interfaith Community Organization (ICO), he has fought to implement strict environmental standards for chromium cleanups in Jersey City. Most notably, a lawsuit won by ICO in 2003 forced Honeywell International Corporation to commit $400 million to clean up a 34-acre site along the Hackensack River banks, where companies dumped the same toxic waste as on Garfield Avenue.

In early February, ICO, along with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a citizens? lawsuit against PPG in federal court to compel the cleanup of the Garfield Avenue site.

?We were really hoping that the city?s agreement would put [our lawsuit] out of business,? Morris says. ?It looks like it won?t.?

Calling the settlement ?toothless,? Morris says that ?other than a five-year goal, it has no timetable, no sanctions, no penalties.?

NRDC attorney Nancy Marks agrees.

?After 25 years of not cleaning up, there?s nothing in the settlement that shows us the cleanup will actually go forward,? she says.

Jersey City?s lead attorney Bill Matsikoudis says that notion is false, noting that a more detailed schedule will be put together once the settlement is formally adopted.

?This is not a remedial action work plan,? he says. ?It sets up a procedure.? He adds that any of the parties can also go to court if one is not holding up its end of the bargain.

The settlement, jointly negotiated by the city and the state, calls for PPG to remediate the Garfield Avenue contamination ?as expeditiously as possible with a five-year goal for completion? and pay $1 million into the city?s Environmental Trust Fund. In turn, that money must be used ?to fund an environmentally beneficial project, such as the acquisition of property for open space or the development and/or improvement of a public park.?

Both Marks and Morris say that the current proposed settlement is weaker than an agreement already in place.

?It actually weakens the environmental cleanup,? Morris says. A 1990 Administrative Consent Order (ACO) issued by the DEP had real enforcement measures, he notes. For example, if PPG fell behind in the cleanup, the DEP could assess penalties under the ACO.

So what happened?

According to Morris, PPG and the other chemical companies? intense lobbying efforts to change state cleanup standards, well-documented by the Star-Ledger five years ago, ?sapped the will of the DEP? to enforce the 1990 ACO. Former DEP case manager Frank Faranca told the Star-Ledger in 2004 that the companies used a variety of stalling tactics, like submitting flawed plans and dragging out cleanups while waiting for standards to become more lax.

Posted on: 2009/3/20 15:07
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PUBLIC NOTICE - Public Comment Period
#28
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Quite a regular


Monday, March 30th, 2009
7:00 PM
City Hall, Jersey City
280 Grove St.

This is where we ask for oversight by the courts and not have PPG select the technical consultants whom decide when and how the clean-up is done.

Please join us!

Graco - Chromium Clean-Up - Community Meeting with DEP, PPG and Jersey City.

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Posted on: 2009/3/19 18:28
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DEP - INTEROFFICE MEMORANDUM
#29
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Quite a regular


INTEROFFICE MEMORANDUM
TO: COMMISSIONER CAMPBELL
FROM: ZOE KELMAN, SITE REMEDIATION AND WASTE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
SUBJECT: NEW JERSEY CHROMIUM WORKGROUP REPORT
DATE: 11/11/2005
CC: JEANNE HERB, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER FOR POLICY, PLANNING AND SCIENCE
JOSEPH SEEBODE, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER FOR SITE REMEDIATION AND WASTE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
EILEEN MURPHY, DIVISION OF SCIENCE RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOY
MARK ROBSON, NEW JERSEY SCHOOL OF PUBIC HEALTH
THOMAS COZZI, SITE REMEDIATION AND WASTE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
RONALD CORCORY, SITE REMEDIATION AND WASTE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
ROBERT HAZEN, DIVISION OF SCIENCE RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOY
JULIA BARRINGER, US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
ROGER PAGE, SITE REMEDIATION AND WASTE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
THEODORE HAYES, SITE REMEDIATION AND WASTE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
I have authored the attached report to inform you in detail of the serious problems related to the recommendations contained in the New Jersey Chromium Workgroup Report. In your March 23, 2004 memorandum, you empanelled this workgroup to review the Department?s current clean-up criteria for chromium and their application.1
Although many members of the workgroup sought diligently to respond to your charge they were frustrated in their efforts. In fact, as I document in the attached report, the workgroup members were specifically forbidden reviewing the current chromium standards or past remedial decisions. While much of the discussion in my report is technical and finds fault with the workgroup report?s reasoning and conclusions, my motivation is simply to protect public health. As we discussed in our previous e-mail correspondence, the New Jersey Chromium Workgroup Report does not reflect the consensus of the Workgroup members and was written largely by NJDEP management with a clear bias for preserving the status quo and leaving the chromium cleanup criteria and remediation program unchanged.



REPORT TO THE COMMISSIONER
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
RECOMMENDATIONS ON CHROMIUM
A Counter ? Argument to the New Jersey Chromium Workgroup?s Recommendations
By
Zoe Kelman
Hazardous Site Mitigation Engineer
October 2005


See full text:
http://www.peer.org/docs/nj/05_10_11_report.pdf

Posted on: 2009/3/19 18:03
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Fox Watching the Hen House
#30
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A toxic solution for DEP oversight
Posted by The Star-Ledger Editorial Board February 02, 2009 6:10AM
Categories: Environment

JENNIFER BROWN/THE STAR-LEDGER
A chromium cleanup site in Jersey City.A new bill proposes changing the way the state Department of Environmental Protection handles toxic site cleanups. Under the bill, the company responsible for cleaning up a contaminated site would also hire a consultant to certify that the job was done correctly.

That's right, instead of sending someone from DEP out to inspect the site, the state would rely on a contractor hired by the polluter.

The change is based on the Massachusetts DEP model that has all but eliminated that state's backlog, getting 4,000 cases "in and out every year," according to Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex), the primary sponsor of the bill.


New Jersey, on the other hand, has a backlog of over 25,000 sites requiring remediation, including brownfields and underground storage sites, he said.

Smith said DEP would take charge of oversight only for the "most complex sites," such as the cleanup of chromium in Jersey City.

He dismissed the idea that the new process has the potential to be easily corrupted. The new bill establishes a board to license the environmental consultants who would certify the sites.

"Their licenses would be in jeopardy if the site was not remediated according to law," he said.

He calls it a better, more efficient process: "In these times of limited budgets and shrinking staffs, it's part of an economic recovery process for New Jersey."

After years of cutbacks, DEP is "definitely a shadow of its former self," he said.

But in the next breath, he expressed confidence that DEP would be able to audit the contractors to make sure they don't overlook shortcomings in the cleanups.

Green groups are up in arms. "There have to be changes, but privatization is not the answer," said Jeff Tittel, director of the NJ Sierra Club, who called for more safeguards in the bill.

For example, insurance should be required as part of the process, so taxpayers aren't left with the bill if contamination is discovered after a site has been certified as "clean."

Tittel also would like to see the new process limited to simple clean-ups, such as underground storage tanks; remediation at sites where pollution could threaten homes and schools should stay under DEP control, he said.

We believe the move to outsource such an important part of DEP's regulatory duties is ill-advised.

Cost-saving measures are welcome in these tough times, but not if they open the door to abuses and neglect.

How soon before we hear about a site that "fell through the cracks" because random audits didn't quite do the job?

Or a consultant comes forward to admit he was pressured or paid off to sign off on a site?

Lawmakers convening hearings on the bill today should carefully consider environmentalists' concerns.

Anyone who doubts the potential for damage inherent in deregulation and weakened oversight need look no further than the collapse of Wall Street.

Posted on: 2009/3/17 20:23
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