Tag Archives: abc news

City’s Superfund Cost Recovery Another Failure

4 Feb

 Some preliminary work on infrastructure in the Stephen Foster neighborhood. This property is contaminated and did not have topsoil replacement. No precautions were taken during this digging.

Some preliminary work on infrastructure in the Stephen Foster neighborhood. This property is contaminated and did not have topsoil replacement. No precautions were taken during this digging.

The City of Gainesville recently settled with Beazer East for less than half of the city’s original cost-recovery claims regarding the Koppers Superfund site. Out of approximately $1.8M tax-payer money spent, Gainesville now stands to recoup a paltry $674,500. In return, the city agreed to release Beazer East from any and all cost recovery claims related to Koppers contamination. This latest example of the City of Gainesville’s nonexistent business acumen brings to mind the disastrous, money-losing biomass plant negotiations. Once again, the tax-payers are on the hook to pay the rest of the bill for a slick multi-national multi-billion dollar corporation. And, once again, public and environmental health is sacrificed by this City Commission who repeatedly put Beazer East’s bottom line over the welfare of its own citizens. During the meeting, Commissioner Wells remarked that the city had expected Beazer East to have done some of the improvements to the infrastructure in the remediation area as part of the cleanup. So in actuality, the city is using the settlement money to do what Beazer East was supposed to do before paying the cost-recovery claim. Sounds like a total loss for the city’s coffers.

The one shining beacon in last Thursday’s Commission meeting was when Mayor Braddy brought up the alternate consideration of using the settlement money to help relocate contaminated households. This suggestion was immediately discarded by a unanimous vote in favor of spending the settlement money to replace water lines and repave roads in areas of Stephen Foster Neighborhood where some properties had topsoil replacement. When will this idea of relocation be re-visited or developed? Not only does the Commission’s decision have no immediate benefit to the sick and dying residents in the area, it actually adds to their suffering by exposing more contaminated soil during the reconstruction process.

While replacing the infrastructure, city workers are being exposed to more contaminated soil that was not replaced. What kind of employee health plan does the city offer? And how does the city plan to keep toxic soil disturbed by this activity from recontaminating newly remediated properties? Beazer East has already said it won’t be coming back if more contamination surfaces, and now the city has negotiated away any legal recourse it may have had.

There is another less tangible and more sinister side to this “reinvestment” to infrastructure in the offsite remediation zone: it benefits non-resident property investors looking to make a killing when the redevelopment occurs. In fact, plans are already underway for onsite redevelopment at this very moment. No need to update roads and water works when the city (taxpayers) has already done it, and paid for it. Greedy sharks are circling while toxic trespass gets a beautification band-aid.

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HUD Helps Banks Unload Koppers Toxic Homes

23 Aug

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is selling Dioxin-Arsenic-PAH contaminated houses in Gainesville Superfund neighborhoods- and failing to disclose the dangerous contamination to unsuspecting low income families buying these toxic homes.
As established residents abandon the homes that have made their families sick, banks foreclose on the Koppers health hazard homes. Homeowners contact their lenders who have knowingly sold them non-disclosed contaminated homes, seeking cooperation with exit strategies for their families’ safety. The banks immediately respond with foreclosure.
Since federal regulations prohibit banks from dealing in contaminated properties, they need a back door to discard these Superfund homes. These banks, including Wells Fargo, BOA and JP Morgan, having already profited from financing and foreclosing on the toxic housing, wash their hands of this PR nightmare by “transferring” the deadly domiciles to HUD for disposal. In response to residents’ questions about the sale of hazardous homes, HUD states that they routinely sell contaminated houses with impunity because they are not required to disclose. Taxpayer-funded HUD oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Selling toxic homes to low income families contradicts HUD’s published directives to protect consumers and improve their quality of life.
Unprincipled local realtors knowingly sell Gainesville Superfund homes on HUD’s behalf. The City of Gainesville and Alachua County Commissions have warned realtors including Bosshardt, Watson Realty and MM Parrish/Coldwell Banker against selling Koppers contaminated properties without providing the legally (and morally) required disclosure to potential homebuyers and renters. But upset new homeowners and renters are still reporting that Koppers contamination was not disclosed to them. Several of these families are already moving out of the area.
Many Gainesville Koppers contaminated homes sold by HUD were previously independently tested. These test results were submitted as evidence in foreclosure court records, and are public documents. Test results for some contaminated homes, including the addresses below, can be found on the Clerk of Court Public Record. Some of these contaminated foreclosed homes have already been sold without disclosure.
514 NW 31st Lane
3507 NW 4th Street
501 NW 28th Avenue
514 NW 33rd Avenue
425 NW 37th Avenue

Beazer East & EPA: Keeping Gainesville Toxic with a Little Help from AMEC

19 Jun

The United States has recovered more than 19 million from AMEC in damages and penalties to settle litigation regarding fraud, false claims and kickbacks on Federal contracts in Sacramento, San Francisco, St. Louis and New Jersey.

At the World Trade Center, AMEC destroyed very important evidence during the clean-up.  This and the tampering witnessed by many residents in our neighborhood render AMEC’s soils test results false and unacceptable and Un-American.  Why are we entrusting the health and the lives of Gainesville’s children to AMEC?

The “Raw Deal” as acknowledged by this Commission earlier this year really gives us a toxic waste dump.  Dumping additional toxic residential soil on top of the already contaminated superfund site allows creosote, and other Koppers chemicals to continue to contaminate our drinking water, the Floridan Aquifer.

Removing one foot of polluted soil and entombing residents in toxic homes does nothing to protect families.  Officials already know that in some homes two to four feet and even twenty to forty feet of toxic soil have already been replaced with clean soil, only to find out later that the replacement soil is just as contaminated as the original soil.

According to Beazer East employee Mitch Brourman, this clean-up is “the best clean-up ever in the nation”.  No, EPA and Beazer East, this is NOT “the best clean-up ever” and it is NOT protective of Gainesville residents and our city.  This is nothing more than a criminal cover-up that is Keeping Gainesville Toxic.  We need and want out of our toxic homes!

Residents want to thank Todd Chase: he is the only City Commissioner that fully understood the implications of accepting this cover-up/raw deal.  We are grateful to him for voting against it.  This Raw Deal will forever stamp Gainesville with the stigma of Toxic City.

Ron Hodill

 

Sandra Watts Kennedy on AMEC’s Canadian Scandal

14 Jun

City of Gainesville Commission Meeting

June 6, 2013

AMEC engineers and scientists hired to do environmental assessment for the Raven Coal Corporation in Port Alberni Canada falsified data about the Alberni Airshed, not once but twice.

When AMEC published their final assessment of air pollutant concentrations in the Alberni Airshed, they claimed that DIOXIN levels in the airshed were well below the safe level standard for air quality set by the Canadian Government and the World Health Organization.  But AMEC was not aware that the Canadian Government monitors the Alberni Airshed for air pollutant concentrations.

The Canadian Government’s reports confirmed major DIOXIN air pollution in Port Alberni, contrary to AMEC’s air quality report. Investigation into AMEC’s actions in Port Alberni proved that AMEC never collected any air quality data in the Alberni Airshed- their report was composed of false test results invented to meet the needs of their client.

AMEC’s fraudulent report included a map illustrating the locations of monitoring towers they claimed to have used for several years to collect their Alberni Airshed data.  Upon investigation it was established that these monitoring stations never existed.

It is said that one can tell a lot about a person’s character by the company they keep.  AMEC is criminally fraudulent.  Why does Beazer East keep using them in Gainesville?  And why has Beazer East repeatedly lied to residents about rehiring AMEC under another name?  Why is EPA allowing use of AMEC-derived data when the lives of Gainesville’s children are at risk?

This farce is costing lives in Gainesville!  We reject AMEC’s sham test results and all aspects of the Beazer East/EPA coverup!  Our families want out of our dioxin-contaminated homes while we’re still alive!

Stephen Foster Resident Martha Miller On AMEC’s Fraudulent History

14 Jun

City of Gainesville Commission Meeting

June 6, 2013

 

AMEC (Beazer East’s environmental consultant for Gainesville’s Koppers Superfund Site) is a huge British-owned corporation like BP that is notoriously corrupt and has faced indictments from countries all over the world.  For example: 

1.   In 2008 Great Britain’s Serious Fraud Office fined AMEC five million pounds for falsifying records and other related ethics violations.  

2.   In South Africa, AMEC was named in a bribery/kickback scandal involving contracts on the Lesotho Dam Project.

3.   AMEC carried out the Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed Chalillo Dam in Belize, and has been accused of burying the scientific analysis of the dam’s impact on wildlife that concluded the project would cause significant and irreversible loss of biological diversity. 

Geologists characterize AMEC’s Environmental Impact Assessment as “gravely flawed and so filled with errors so as to render it useless as a document for engineers to use in the design and the construction of the proposed dam.”  They go on to state “The mistakes made by AMEC in the geological mapping of the Chalillo site would get a failing mark in an introductory geology class”.  

4.   Likewise, University of Florida scientists found AMEC’s assumptions and models regarding health risks associated with Koppers Superfund Site to be so flawed that they recommended to Florida DEP that AMEC’s data should not be used at all.  

Given AMEC’s worldwide reputation for unethical conduct and unreliable work, continuing to use their falsified data to drive our remedial action is a major mistake that will forever impact the reputation of our city.  More importantly, Gainesville families will continue to sicken and die in toxic homes.  We want out of this toxic city.  We don’t want to die in beautiful but toxic homes- We reject this RAW DEAL!