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Environmental Injustice: The Unfolding Tale of Two Florida Superfund Sites

13 Apr

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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!

Another Family Rejects Beazer East/EPA’s Dangerous and Disingenuous “off-site soil remedial action”

4 Jun

Scott Miller, Remedial Project Manager
Superfund Remedial Branch
USEPA Region 4
Atlanta Federal Center
61 Forsyth Street
Atlanta, GA 30303

May 15, 2013

Mr. Miller et al,

We still do not grant access to our property, parcel 08409-000-000, to Beazer East, Inc./Koppers Inc., Tetra Tech, MACTEC (AMEC), Kestrel Ecological Services, or any other entities or individuals working on behalf of Beazer East, Inc., US EPA, FL DOH or FL DEP for soil sampling or any other activity related to the dangerous and disingenuous “off-site soil remedial action”.

Let us again plainly state that we are not participating in any phase of EPA’s and Beazer East’s “off-site soil remediation”.  As you well know, in our neighborhood it has been repeatedly illustrated that clean replacement soils quickly become as contaminated as the replaced soils, sometimes even more contaminated.  Further, your “remediation” fails to address the greater, more immediate danger posed to our families by the dioxin-saturated interiors of our homes. 

We refuse to participate in your purely cosmetic psychological exercise designed to deceive residents into the false belief that our homes and gardens will no longer be a serious toxic threat to our families.  This includes any and all phases of the soil scraping and cover-up that you are trying to force on innocent residents in lieu of providing the real protective action that our suffering community needs and deserves.

Please inform your contractors: NO employee of Tetra Tech, MACTEC (AMEC), Kestrel Ecological Services, Beazer East, Inc./Koppers Inc., US EPA, FL DOH or FL DEP may trespass our property at any time without both our explicit permission and our actual physical presence while you are there.  This prohibition also applies to any employees of Alachua County or the City of Gainesville intending to trespass our property for any activities connected to the “off-site soil remediation” in Stephen Foster Neighborhood.

Please contact attorney Stephen Murakami, as instructed in this email which you received on July 6, 2012:

Dear Mr. Miller:
I believe my client has made it abundantly clear by her unequivocal instructions and notice set forth in her message, that she does not wish to participate in any additional soil or dust sampling conducted by you or any of your agents or contractors.  In the future, should you require any information pertaining to the Kennedy’s property, kindly contact me in advance of any attempt to secure the Kennedy’s permission or authorization to enter upon their property for any purpose.
Sincerely,
Stephen David Murakami, Esq.
Attorney at Law

 

Please reply to our email so that we know that you understand its contents.

Sincerely,

Sandra Watts Kennedy and Kevin Kennedy

Unpublished Response to Inaccuracies in 02/06/13 Alligator Article

4 Mar

Because the Koppers article printed in the Florida Independent Alligator on 02/06/13 contained several inaccurate statements, Sandra Watts Kennedy submitted a letter addressing these inaccuracies to the Alligator on 02/18/13.  As of 03/04/13, the Alligator has not printed her letter, so koppersgainesville is posting it here:

Hundreds of afflicted residents are taking Koppers and Beazer East to court with scientific proof that levels of arsenic, dioxins and PAHs inside our homes are drastically higher than ACEPD and GRU staff asserted at Santa Fe College’s recent panel discussion on the Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site.

Dr. Mousa’s memory is creative concerning local government involvement in closing Koppers.  He should review videos from numerous commission meetings showing citizens testifying to illnesses and deaths from Koppers toxic exposure and begging our elected officials to close down the site.   It was only after residents produced documents proving that the City and GRU were among Koppers best customers and therefore abetting Koppers’ ongoing contamination, that we convinced the City to stop doing business with the polluter.  Public outcry ultimately closed the plant.

If water contamination is the primary concern, why does our local government support EPA’s “cleanup plan” that contains no remedial action to stop the downward migration of contamination into the aquifer and continues to compromise our drinking water?

Stephen Foster Elementary School is not “several miles north” of the toxic site: it is only 1/3 mile away from the Site, and yes, our children there are at risk.

Regarding the related art show, families of Koppers victims are offended by the lavishing of grants for greenwashing projects when there is so much pain and suffering in our community.  A better use of these funds would be to move the most severely afflicted residents out of harm’s way.

Consent Decree published: Last Chance to ask the Feds for a Real Cleanup

21 Feb

The Proposed Consent Decree/Final Cleanup Plan for the Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site was posted in the Federal Register on February 13, 2013. The posting of this notice opened a brief period for public comment on the Consent Decree.

This is the last opportunity to submit our comments directly to the US  District Court for the Northern District of Florida, who will make the final decision on whether to approve  the Consent Decree.  Comments must be submitted no later than March 14, 2013.

Comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and should refer to “United States of America v. Beazer East, Inc. Civil Action No. 1:13cv29-SPM-GRJ; D.J. Ref. No. 90-11-2-622/1”. Comments may be submitted either by email or by mail.

Send your comments to:

The Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division

Refer to:

United States of America v. Beazer East, Inc. Civil Action No. 1:13cv29-SPM-GRJ; D.J. Ref. No. 90-11-2-622/1

Email:  pubcomment-ees.enrd@usdoj.gov

Mail:   Assistant Attorney General, US DOJ-ENRD

               PO Box 7611

Washington, DC 20044-7611

During the public comment period, the Consent Decree may be examined and downloaded at this Justice Department Website: http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.

Rally for a Real Cleanup of Koppers Superfund Contamination 02/27/13!

19 Feb

Demand a real cleanup to save the Floridan Aquifer, our drinking water!

Help end long-term toxic exposure in Gainesville!

US EPA will hold a public meeting to accept comments about the Consent Decree/Cleanup Plan for the Cabot/Koppers Superfund Site on Wednesday, February 27th from 6:00 to 8:00PM at the Stephen Foster Elementary School at 3800 NW 6th Street, Gainesville.  

Your voice and your presence are needed!

The Rally for a Real Cleanup of Koppers Superfund Contamination!

  • Wednesday, February 27th 5:00 to 6:00PM

  • In front of Stephen Foster Elementary School at NW 6th St & 39th Ave

This is our last chance to let the EPA hear your voice before an inadequate cleanup plan receives federal approval.  Our aquifer and city residents deserve a cleanup, not a coverup!  Signs will be available, or create and bring your own- the more the merrier- come to the Rally and stay to participate in the Meeting!

Final Cleanup Plan?

After spending 30 years and millions of dollars on research while residents continued to suffer from toxic exposure and Koppers chemicals continued to migrate deeper into the Floridan Aquifer, why are government officials now expediting the same cleanup plan that their predecessors rejected for sheer inadequacy twenty years ago, a plan that benefits nobody except the polluters?

This coverup plan calls for excavation of 6 to 12 inches of contaminated offsite soil for permanent storage on the Koppers Site, creating a massive toxic waste dump, and places a park with deed restricted businesses and residences directly on top of Super Mount Dioxin.  The scheme also features slurry walls that will not prevent downward migration of contamination into the aquifer and injections of heavy metal laden, unproven, ineffective Remox solution directly into the groundwater.  Residents living in contaminated offsite properties will be left in their toxic homes and subjected to deed restrictions.

Show US EPA officials that the Koppers Coverup is unacceptable- “moving a little dirt around” will not protect our drinking water or our children!

No Arsenic- No Dioxin- No PAHs!

Dig it up- Clean it up- and Take it away!