Our Children And Their Future
In the Citizen Participation Plan filed by National Greed, nee Key Span, in January 2009 regarding the Toxic Waste Site, the opening line reads, “Citizen Participation is an integral component of remedial programs in NYS.” It goes on to say, “A project-specific plan is needed to inform and involve community residents, public and private leaders, and other stakeholders.” What is a private leader? Aren’t we the other stakeholders? What is their objective? Is it to make the whole scene disappear without a trace causing as little of a community uprising as possible? Is what they are doing now covering up the evidence of an anticlean up?
To further prove National Greed has only their own best interests at heart, when it came to informing neighborhood groups of its intentions to disturb highly toxic waste that had been lying dormant for decades, their listed politicians were “Helen Marshall, Joe Addabbo, Audrey Pheffer, Malcolm Smith and Anthony Weiner.
The contact groups were Jon Gaska and Dolores Orr of the Community Board, Rockaway Beach Civics 11693; Dolores Orr, president, Rockaway Peninsula Civic Association 11691; Hinda Gross, president, Gateway Council Organization 11691; Barbara Walker, president, Rockaway Chamber of Commerce 11694; (no contact person) and RDRC 11691; no contact person. Howard Schwach was listed as the “Local Newspaper Covering Area.” Howie, isn’t a newspaper man supposed to be curious as to the effect of the project on our community.
Look at the zip codes of the contact groups carefully. Do you believe Greed used their due diligence in contacting those in the closest proximity to the site? All but one organization is even in the same zip code; and all the other groups don’t even get to see one of the 1,400 or so trucks transporting toxic waste pass their doors.
Ask yourself who would be the most interested in the carcinogens being dug up and their transportation out of the community, someone who lives in 11691 or those of us who live in the site’s backyard. Greed obviously contacted the only 11694 knowing it was impotent and would not reach out to the 11694 community. Greed could not even locate a contact person within the “Chamber,” the only group within 11694. But, where were Pheffer and Schwach?
The answer is they were both on the side of “Let’s clean it up and get it done” and not how dangerous the clean-up would be to our community. Why weren’t the Neponsit, Belle Harbor and Rockaway Park Homeowners Associations listed on the contact list? Was Greed afraid they had the most at stake and would ask the hard questions that would delay or postpone the ‘clean-up?
Notice, if you will they were all conspicuously omitted from the ‘contact list’ nor were they recorded as ‘interested parties.’ In one glitch at the sight (and there were many) in particular in May of 2009, there were excessive Total Volatile Organic Compounds readings. The only one contacted was Jon Gaska who, in turn, informed no one.
Who else wasn’t informed as to the potentially harmful airborne carcinogens bound to be emitted during the dig, loading and transport of the highly toxic soil? Neither parents, students nor teachers in the three schools so close to the site they could reach out and touch it, Scholars’, 225, Stella even Beach Channel were informed as to the toxicity of the air they breathed during the ‘clean-up.’
One would think Greed would reach out and allay the fears of our community if they were doing the right thing. Not only didn’t they, they tried to commence their dastardly deeds without holding a single meeting for interested parties in the affected community. In truth, they were never receptive to any manner and means of community communication. They wanted to hit and run.
For those of you who still believe the land will be truly clean when Greed is done, like wiping up spilled milk, you are sadly mistaken. There will always be residue and, with the shifting sands in that 8 feet of fill, the menacing tar will likely resurface. Are we, in the neighborhood prepared to give the land a clean bill of health now or ever? Think about it, please:
Forgetting for the moment the site of the huge LIPA switching station complete with the electro magnetic cancer causing emissions adjacent to the proposed park site, would you want your children to play in the ‘park’ site of the clean-up? Do you believe the land is fit for humans to lie on the grass and picnic? Remember, the only humans to set foot on the land recently wore hazmat suits. Don’t we have enough cancer and child onset diabetes in Rockaway?
A park on the MGP site is an abject cover-up. It is intended to hide the truth to all for now and to those who constitute the future of Rockaway. Those who would support a park where the toxic site is should be the first to bring their grandchildren there, run through the proposed grass and fly a kite. What should take its place on the waste site? The answer should be “nothing that involves people or digging.” Blacktop it and seal it off from potentially harming people. The land has been vacant for decades for a reason. Taking poison away 8 feet down when it has been measured at over 120 feet with shifting sands and high and low tides makes that land toxic in perpetuity. The MGP site is our Love Canal. It is not to be taken lightly. Seal it with blacktop, fence it off and leave it vacant so that in a few years Greed can return to the scene of the crime and remove the carcinogens that have risen to the top.
Greed is currently looking for a free pass out of their plan to clean up the “entire site,” because of a few glitches they “suddenly discovered.” It is up to our community to put pressure on Greed to finish the complete job they set out to do. We already let them get away with the manner and means of the ‘clean-up.’ Just look at how they left the site until they pled their case to weasel out of their accepted plan.
Contact those politicians on the “LIST” and tell them how you feel about National Greed and our MGP site clean-up.
Would you be surprised if the outcome of this most recent fight proved Greed and our politicians couldn’t give a #?!* about our children or their future?