THE COMPLAINT IN THE ONONDAGA LAND RIGHTS ACTION OPENS WITH THE FOLLOWING WORDS:
The land rights action petitions the federal court to declare that New York violated federal law when it took Onondaga Land. The land area includes the Onondaga Nation’s historic territory, which encompasses not only Syracuse and Onondaga Lake, but stretches south past Binghamton and north past Watertown.
The Onondaga Nation is suing the State of New York, the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, and five corporations for illegal land takings and damage inflicted on Central New York’s environment. The corporate defendants are:
- Honeywell International, Inc. which owns several industrial properties and toxic dumps along the southwest shore of Onondaga Lake. Honeywell and its predecessor companies operated various chemical plants from 1880-1980. The pollution from these operations transformed the lake from its pristine state into the most polluted body of water on this continent. View a timeline of Honeywell’s history on Onondaga lake. In November, 2005 the Onondaga Nation reported on the inadequate ‘cleanup’ plans for just one of Honeywell’s toxic sites. To read the report (.pdf) click here.
- Clark Concrete Company (recently purchased by Cranesville Block) and its subsidiary, Valley Realty Development, own a gravel mine in Tully that has degraded the headwaters of Onondaga Creek. The mining area contains areas of extreme archaeological and cultural sensitivity for the Onondaga Nation.
- Hansen Aggregates and its subsidiaries, which own the Jamesville Quarry. The quarry is the largest open pit mine in the state and sprawls across portions of the towns of DeWitt and LaFayette.
- Trigen Syracuse Energy Corporation, which owns an energy cogeneration plant in the Town of Geddes that burns a combination of coal and plastic/paper waste. The toxic emissions caused by burning these materials include large quantities of hydrochloric acid and dioxins.
The Onondaga will not settle for methods such as casinos that have been used to resolve other Native American claims.