Statement to City Commission by Roy Geiersbach on Koppers Gainesville Superfund, February 2011

21 Jul

My name is Roy Geiersbach from the Stephen Foster Neighborhood.
Colon, lung, kidney, thyroid, skin, pancreas, liver just to name a few of the cancers that are common in our neighborhood.

Children born with missing parts such as lungs, kidney, stomach, short limbs and cleft pallet. Miscarriages and still births are also a problem.

I and others, and some whom are now dead, have testified before you asking for help over and over for years.
I don’t understand what YOU DON’T GET! about the fact that we are dying here! MANY HAVE DIED MANY MORE ARE SICK AND MANY MORE WILL DIE!

CALCIUM DEPLETION IN BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, WHERE YOUR BONES EASILY BREAK, AND WHICH IS CAUSED BY CHEMICAL CONTAMINATION AS STATED BY SOME OF MY DOCTORS, IS A COMMON PROBLEM IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. MANY HAVE THIS PROBLEM WHICH I ALSO HAVE, ALONG WITH MULTIPLE CANCERS AND OTHER ILLNESSES.

I ask where is your compassion and humanity? You, our elected officials, have not spoken out in our defense. We are dying here!  When will you stand up for us?   We need and have been asking for your help!  And yet you STILL don’t hear us.

We don’t want excuses and please no more passing the buck.  We need action in our defense, not worries that Beazer is going to sue the EPA or that the EPA won’t grant your request SO WHAT!  THAT IS THEIR PROBLEM NOT YOURS.  You need to ask for the best possible resolution and clean-up, for our city and its residents, especially the residents of the Stephen Foster Neighborhood.

COMMISSIONER POE YOU HAVE NOT REPRESENTED YOUR DISTRICT WELL AT ALL YOU HAVE BEEN M-I-A, I REPEAT M-I-A! ON THIS KOPPERS ISSUE.  WHEN IT COMES TO THE RESIDENTS THAT LIVE IN THE INFECTED AREAS!  You have not defended us or spoken on our behalf or even called us to get our perspective.  It is as if we don’t matter, we are just collateral damage to you.

This is criminal, you our elected officials should be ashamed of yourselves. you continue to allow this massive travesty to go on just like your other predecessors and not demand permanent relocation of the affected residents.  You are keeping us in contaminated homes!

FROM ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES THAT HAVE AND ARE INVOLVED IN THIS ISSUE.  YOU HAVE ALL PASSED THE BUCK!!! AND SHAMEFULLY CONTINUED TO DO SO WHILE WE SUFFER,  ARE SICK AND DYING.
TOO MANY ARE LIVING IN HIGHLY CONTAMINATED HOMES THAT ALL OF YOU, CRIMINALLY IGNORE.
REALTORS ARE NOW TELLING US THAT OUR PROPERTIES ARE UNSALABLE AND THEREFORE THEY ARE WORTHLESS PROPERTIES  AND WON’T LIST THEM.  SO PROPERTY TAXES SHOULD  BE NULL AND VOID.  YET YOU DEMAND  HIGH TAXES FROM US.

SOME OF OUR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS HAVE NOT BEEN RESPONSIBLE AND ARE NOT RESPONDING IN THE APPROPRIATE MANNER THAT THEY SHOULD IN  THE DEFENSE OF THE SICK, DYING RESIDENTS LIVING IN THE TOXIC CHEMICALLY INFECTED AREAS.

THE FIASCO OF THE EPA’S MEETING ON AUGUST 5TH AT THE STEPHEN FOSTER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!
I ALONG WITH THE REST OF MY NEIGHBORS, WE THE IMMEDIATELY AND MOST AFFECTED RESIDENTS WERE CRIMINALLY DISENFRANCHISED AND NOT ALLOWED TO SPEAK BY THE EPA.  THIS WAS AN OUTRAGEOUS, BLATANT, AND DISGUSTING, CRIMINAL SILENCING OF THE PEOPLE IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS.

The EPA’s specially selected group and speakers, most whom do not live in the Neighborhood and DO NOT HAVE OUR BEST INTERESTS AT HEART AND DO NOT SPEAK FOR US! were allowed to speak for the full 2 hours of that meeting.  When I went to speak the microphone was taken away from me by Ms. Latonya Spencer.
When our President, Mrs. Sandra Kennedy, went to speak she was refused the microphone.  She was them overcome with emotion because she was not allowed to speak on our behalf.

IT IS OBVIOUS THAT YOU DON”T WANT TO HEAR FROM US!  But you will have to, because we won’t back down.
I’ve seen a lot in my lifetime, especially as a Vietnam Vet.  I never thought this would happen to me in this country.  This is CRIMINAL, YOU WILL NOT SILENCE US!  Is this a Democracy?  Are we a Third-World country?
No one who lives outside of our neighborhoods that is not sick, ill dying, living in highly-contaminated properties whether renter or home owner speaks for us!

Many people shouted from the audience to be allowed to speak, even some members of the specially selected group were heard shouting to let them speak.

Many rushed to the front and demanded to speak, Mr. James Miller stood up from his seat and shouted also along with everybody else but he was the only one that was threatened by the police presence that was there at the request of the EPA according to Ms. Spencer.  Mr. Miller is the only African American that stood up.  One wonders if this is why he was the only one that was threatened by the Police.

Almost 30 years of this is enough!  We demand a Criminal Investigation and I hope that you, Mr. Poe, will do something for a change on our behalf.  We demand that you write a letter of complaint to Mr. Meiburg at Region 4 EPA about the injustice that we had to suffer at the hands of Mr. Scott Miller, Mr. David Keefer and Ms. Latonya Spencer.  They should all be fired.

We want a copy of the letter when you send it.  We also want you to stand up to the EPA in defense of your own neighborhood. It is time that you do so!  And that request goes to all of the commissioners here tonight.
WE SHALL NOT GO QUIETLY INTO THE NIGHT, WE SHALL BE HEARD IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.  WE SHALL PREVAIL!  Thank you

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