Koppers/Beazer East Superfund Gainesville Florida Citizen Comment October 20, 2011 Gainesville City Commission Meeting

2 Nov

I want to thank Commissioner Chase for his emailed clarification regarding the inclusion of Koppers on this year’s legislative priority list.  This inclusion is long overdue.  Sadly, in the nearly 30 years since Koppers was declared a Superfund Site, despite many requests from diverse citizens, it has never been included on the list of the most critical issues faced by our City and its denizens.

Commissioner Chase, you are right in noting that during the legislative forum of 2009, Senator Oelrich stated that the City of Gainesville had never placed Koppers on the legislative priority list and that this was surprising to him because the Koppers contamination was just as bad or worse than New York State’s infamous Love Canal where the affected residents had to be permanently relocated.

Representatives for the immediately affected residents informed Senator Oelrich at the time that we were shocked that Koppers was not on the 2009 priority list- especially since we had asked our mayor, Pegeen Hanrahan, to please include Koppers on this list.  Mayor Hanrahan promised residents that she would do this, but to our great disappointment she never did.

For decades, Koppers has been polluting our city, the source of our drinking water, the Floridan Aquifer, while the multitude of testimonials from affected residents about their illnesses and deaths of their family members have fallen on deaf ears.  

This is the first time in the sorry history of our local Superfund Site that our City has actually considered the ongoing contamination important enough to be placed on the State’s legislative priority list.  So we thank you Commissioner Chase for being the first City Commissioner to expedite this issue on behalf of our sick and dying residents.

Corruption and corporate greed have been killing families here in Gainesville and in countless other communities across the nation for far too long.

Sandra Watts Kennedy

President, Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Incorporated

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