PRESS RELEASE: Oct. 12, 2006
Onondaga Nation Communications
SECRET NEGOTIATIONS LEAD TO A PUBLIC HANDSHAKE: NEW YORK STATE AND HONEYWELL AGREE TO BURY EVEN MORE TOXIC WASTE ON THE BOTTOM OF ONONDAGA LAKE
“Clean-up” plan farce reaches new low as Honeywell extends lakeshore and fills in a significant part of the lake, by 50 to 100 feet
Syracuse, New York – After a year and a half of secret negotiations, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) announced a plan today to leave an unknown quantity of chlorinated benzenes at the bottom of Onondaga Lake, by extending the shoreline along the southwest portion of the lake by 50 to 100 feet and filling in that one-third mile long portion.
The secret negotiations began shortly after an “official” clean-up plan (or Record of Decision) was released to the public in June 2005. New York State officials have not provided any reasons why they excluded the public voice from the decision-making process.
“Honeywell and NYSDEC need to remove all the toxic waste as soon as possible, instead of dragging their feet,” said Joe Heath, General Counsel to the Onondaga Nation. “We all need to remember how dangerous and mobile these cancer-causing chemicals are, yet this even weaker plan is a gamble with the health of the lake and the people who live here.”
In the Record of Decision for Onondaga Lake (ROD), the Environmental Protection Agency classified chlorinated benzenes as ‘principal threat wastes’ defined as ‘materials considered to be highly toxic or highly mobile that generally cannot be reliably contained or would present a significant risk to human health and the environment should exposure occur’ (“A Guide to Principal Threat and Low Level Threat Wastes,” November 1991).
“This is the same ‘cap it and forget it’ mentality that dominates their planning,” said Heath. “This latest plan will raise the cancer risk for all Central New Yorkers. You can’t grow the Syracuse economy if our Lake remains too dangerous to swim in and its fish are too toxic to eat.”