2010-06-18 / Columnists

It’s My Turn

National Grid MGP: Truth Or Consequence
By Ronald Joseph

Ronald Joseph is a Rockaway resident who lives nearby the former LILCO manufactured gas plant on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 108 Street. He has been a constant opponent of the plan to clean up the toxic waste site.

A respected journalist once told me. “If you don’t ruffle any feathers, then you haven’t done your job.” Unfortunately, he didn’t warn me of the consequences I may suffer as a result thereof.

Today, I write not to ruffle any feathers, but in rebuttal to statements made in The Wave’s May 21, 2010 article entitled “MGP Site Could Face Three- Month Delay.”

The article reported on the events of a Community Board 14 MGP Task Force meeting regarding National Grid’s MGP hazardous waste site on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 108 Street The article states: “Á ground well was installed on Joseph’s property but he refuses to let National Grid on his property to monitor the results unless they pay him.”

This is an absolute falsehood. Let me state for the record that allowing National Grid to access Joseph’s property may constitute the granting of an easement; which customarily yields monetary consideration to the proprietor. Despite National Grid’s refusal to render any compensation, Joseph allowed access to install the groundwater wells; and it was National Grid that cancelled on at least three occasions, resulting in the wells remaining unread. National Grid’s emails verifying these facts were submitted to the Wave; as well as Assemblywoman Pheffer.

At the Task Force meeting, Joseph presented several National Grid reports which state:

1. Groundwater contamination has spread across the NYCTA railroad track; despite claims that groundwater flows north towards Jamaica Bay, away from homes on Rockaway Beach Blvd.

2. Contaminants found on the site were also found on his property at almost three times the legal limits; three of which were carcinogenic. These documents directly contradict the article’s statement that: “… contaminants beneath his property are not characteristic of MGP sites.”

3. Contaminants are being released into Jamaica Bay, with continued releases being an integral component of the alleged site clean-up.

4. Trucks transporting wastes from the site are not sealed; despite promises made to the community, and in violation of established clean-up protocols.

Community Board 14 and local politicians appear more concerned with obtaining rights to the land, than ensuring that contaminants do not spread endangering residents and wildlife in Jamaica Bay. Jonathan Gaska, Community Board 14 District Manager, has offered to forward a letter requesting EPA intervention on Joseph’s behalf, but only if Joseph provides the Community Board with all video evidence compiled by him since 2008. The question remains; why must Joseph submit all of his evidence to the Community Board in order to obtain a letter of assistance?

Joseph has posted select video clips on youtube for public viewing. Once on the site, enter “damgpfight” in the search bar. The videos verify that which is contained in the reports; which expose National Grid’s manipulation of the data. I hope you become mad as hell, as Howard Beale implores us in the 70’s classic movie Network. Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCV UPDYwC4w and http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=rOXjqFxM8bg to view Mr. Beale’s riveting performance.

Whether it’s National Grid or BP, Jamaica Bay or The Gulf of Mexico, MGP coaltar or crude oil; big business gets rich, while wildlife and the average Joe suffocates. Either NYSDEC, and the local politicians deal with the truth or the residents and the environment will suffer the consequences. Victory goes not to the swift, but to he who endures and remains steadfast in the journey. My journey has only just begun.

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