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Commentary/
E.P.A.'s Plan is sound
'Opportunity is pounding down the door'

by Robert L. Henrickson
East Nassau, New York
Having attended the public hearing in Saratoga on December 12th, I was struck by two things. First, how many people, politicians included, have been blinded by G.E.'s propaganda campaign (or $$$), to a point where they cannot connect with the reality presented in the E.P.A. proposal.

Second, the sheer size of the crowd, which overflowed the hall. Unfortunately, the time allotment to speak was only two minutes, but there is a lot of power in numbers. 

First Read, Then Write
My message that I tried to get out in Saratoga is this:  Start by taking a look at a book entitled: Our Stolen Future, by Colborn, Dumanoski and Myers (www.ourstolenfuture.org), especially if you're still not sure about the cleanup. Some of this will stand your hair on end! 

Next, get a letter of support out to E.P.A. during the agency's public comment period, as well as to Governor Pataki and N.Y. State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Commissioner John Cahill for their support of the cleanup, and copy your other elected officials. The Governor and the Commissioner are going to be under a lot of pressure in the next few weeks to withdraw their support for the E.P.A. plan. 

Favors boycotting G.E.
Finally, let's get a boycott going of G.E. products! Why do I see only one letter-to-the-editor on HudsonWatch.net with that suggestion? The E.P.A. plan is the opportunity of a lifetime, and G.E. is going to get away with murder if the cleanup is stopped. 

Nassau's Dewey Loeffel Toxic Waste Dump dwarfs Love Canal
If you doubt the importance of what I'm suggesting, please understand I live in tbe Rensselaer County town of Nassau with its Dewey Loeffel Toxic Waste Dump, named after the chemical waste hauler who created it, and home of an admitted forty-six thousand (46,000) tons of PCB's and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) like Xylene, Toluene, Benzine, TCE, and DCE, etc., contributed by G.E. 80%, by Schenectady Chemicals 17%, and by Bendix 1-2% (approximately). 

For reference, Love Canal at Niagara Falls, New York contained twenty-one thousand eight-hundred (21,800) tons of chemical wastes.
(For more information on Love Canal, Click Here!)

A fault in the underlying bedrock
In 1980, G.E. and NYSDEC agreed the former would pay to cap Loeffel's toxic 11-acre lagoon, which was unlined. It turns out though, that there exists a fault in the underlying bedrock estimated to be seventy (70) feet wide; and guess what, the contents are leaking out into the Valatie Kill, Nassau Lake and surrounding wells.

Nothing done since discovery of leak
Since 1988 when the leak was discovered, G.E. and NYSDEC have been duking it out over the issue of responsibility, and virtually nothing has been done. And please, this is not in any way, shape or form how the E.P.A. plans to place the Hudson's PCB's. 

The point here, is that opportunity is pounding down the door, and if we miss this chance, we may never get another. The E.P.A. plan is a sound one. True, there are things that need to be worked out by reasonable people in a rational manner, ie., Port of Albany dewatering site, but if G.E. is allowed to walk on this one, we are walking away from our responsibility as stewards of the land for future generations. 

In my opinion, G.E. could have taken the moral high road and done the right thing in agreeing to perform the cleanup, which would have hardly altered their bottom line and been a real public relations coup. 

$2 million a week in disinformation & lies
Instead, they decided to pour an estimated $2 million a week into a campaign of disinformation and outright lies, ostensibly to demonstrate to their stockholders they are defending their bottom line.

Unfortunately, the campaign appears to have been somewhat successful. 

With the numbers on our side, it doesn't have to be that way. Let's turn-off the TV, put down the beer, and get off the couch and get organized. At the very least write some letters and boycott G.E. products!

(Robert L. Henrickson is a member of the Nassau Union of Concerned Citizens, Inc. and a trustee on the Village Board of East Nassau, New York.  He may be reached via e-mail at: rlhe@localnet.com)

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