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Follow Up to EPA/Port Richmond Meeting 6/4/2009

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Joined: Mar 17, 2005
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Location: Staten Island

PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:37 pm    Post subject: Follow Up to EPA/Port Richmond Meeting 6/4/2009
From Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:00 am to Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:59 am (included)
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Dear All,

Once again, I would like to thank everyone for pitching in to help get the word out about last night's EPA Meeting at Port Richmond High School. Thank you to the Port Richmond, Elm Park and Mariners Harbor residents for showing that you do care about your health and well-being and coming out. Special thanks to New York Lawyers for Public Interest and their Interns, Decker Avenue Civic, NSWC members, Staten Island Taxpayers Assoc., Natural Resources Protective Assoc., The Reform Church on Staten Island, Project Hospitality and the Press for coming out and showing your support for the Port Richmond Community.

Thank you to the representatives from the elected officials' offices, we know how busy you must all be. Thank you to Commissioner Paulo, Frank Cacaterra from SI Parks and Ian Beilby from DEC for coming out. Thank you to the EPA for their presentation, we believe that with the many environmental issues on Staten Island's North Shore and in our waterways. We predict that the EPA and the DEC will be in the SI North shore communities for a long time.

In terms of the community meetings and having community input with members of the community that are knowledgeable about the environmental issues here, it is a step in the correct direction of establishing a better working relationship.

However, with everything that was said during the meeting last night there were outstanding points that were driven home. Foremost now that the community is aware of the number of toxins that is in their environment, that they have no wish, or desire to continue to live with these amounts of toxins that they are being exposed to.

And that as citizens they have every right to expect that their government will honor their wishes and rights and not just look at superficial ways to continue to have the people of the north shore of Staten Island live among the toxins. But eradicate theses toxins from their environment completely. No one was satisfied with the answer of adding more soil on top of the contaminated soil at Veteran's Park.


Residents would like to see (without the removal of the trees) a cover buffering the entire park and then layers of clean soil, sod and then vegetation added to prevent rain runoff.

Residents are still asking for the temporary relocation of the 2 bus stops that are near the Jewette/NL Industry site.

Residents also wanted core drillings of other manufacturing sites to determine what containments may exist at those sites that could be a public health risk later on to the communities should these sites be used or sold for redevelopment. And notices attached to the titles and deeds so that the contamination findings stay with these properties long after we are all gone.

Residents are also looking for affordable ways to eliminate lead and other toxins from their properties.

It is pretty devastating for a community to wake up and realize that the environment that you are living in can cause you physical harm. Also that the government that is suppose to be protecting you has not always lived up to those expectations for various reasons.

With that being said it is not really clear whether, or not anyone especially the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is taking into consideration the psychological well being of this community in dealing with these many contamination issues. For many years it has been reported that Environmental Justice Community residents suffer from various stress related illnesses. Maybe it is the deceptive Mayberry RFD daytime facade that is throwing everyone off and allowing them to think that these SI communities are not the stereotypical hardcore EJ communities portrayed in the movies and TV. It is true they are not the Harlem, or Bedford Stuyvesant of the 1970s or 1980s. But as one of our youth once told me, there are many different kinds of Hoods and after 11 years of living in Port Richmond, I know he is right.

Therefore the EPA, DOH, other agencies and elected officials should be looking into ways of helping residents to feel more comfortable and secure during these remediation processes. Several requests have already been made by community leaders and residents and some have been dismissed. Probably because the agencies don't completely understand the mindset behind the request or cannot identify with the residents. Which is not unheard of historically in dealing with EJ communities. Once again we are asking that these requests some of which are above be taken into consideration and granted.

It was once said once you know something, you can't un know it. The residents now know about the contamination issues and they are not going to forget how these extremely sensitive issues in their communities are being handled.


Thank you for your time and consideration and we look forward to hearing from our elected officials regarding the matters discussed in this email.


Beryl A. Thurman, Executive Director/President


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