Environmental Leader Blasts EPA's 'Fluff' Decision
This is a letter sent by Dante Picciano, director of the Army for a Clean Environment, to local media in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to cover the Eastern Diversified Metals Superfund site with dirt rather than removing the toxic material to an appropriate landfill:
To the Editor:
Here are my thoughts on the July 20th meeting with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in regard to the clean up of the "fluff" pile at the Eastern Diversified Metals' site in Hometown. First, the respective agencies sent low level bureaucrats to incur the wrath of the community members. At the same time, the real decision makers for these environmental agencies were dining on shrimp cocktails in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C.
Second, any rational decision maker would ask two questions about the clean up of the Superfund site. The first question would be: what is the best method to eliminate the toxic hazard? After the first question is answered, the second question would be: what is the most cost effective way to perform the best method? However, our friends at the EPA and the DEP decided not to follow this simple, common sense two-step process. Instead, the decision makers at these environmental agencies asked: what is the cheapest way to address the problem?
The reason why the environmental agencies decided on the cheapest way to address the problem was to save Nassau Metals the greatest amount of money. According to the EPA, Nassau Metals was a subsidiary of AT&T, which subsequently became Lucent Technologies. Forget the health of the people who live adjacent to the toxic pile, it is the cost to Nassau Metals that is most important to our environmental agencies. Furthermore, the EPA doesn't even use the name "Nassau Metals" in its literature. At the meeting, the EPA passed out literature referring to the Potentially Responsible Parties, never naming Nassau Metals.
I am getting tired referring to the EPA and the DEP as environmental agencies because they are not. They are industry agencies. Their job is to protect corporate and industrial polluters. Their names should be changed to the U.S. Industry Protection Agency (IPA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Industry Protection (DIP).
Third, there is no reason why the citizens of Hometown should trust anything that the DEP has to say. The DEP said they were confident that capping the fluff file would protect the health of the citizens exposed to the toxic substances from the hazardous site. They asked the citizens to trust the agency. Please remember that the DEP, then the Department of Environmental Resources, granted a permit to Eastern Diversified Metals to operate the toxic chemical-generating facility. The DEP then inspected Eastern Diversified Metals on a regular basis and allowed the company to continue generating toxic substances at the facility for 11 years. If anything, the DEP was a co-conspirator with Eastern Diversified Metals in the creation of the Superfund site. Now, the DEP wants us to believe that it knows how to best clean up the hazardous mess at the site that it helped create.
Finally, adjacent land owners and other people who are exposed to the toxic substances from the hazardous site should consider consulting with an attorney for possible legal action for chemical trespass.
Dante Picciano, Ph.D.
Army for a Clean Environment, Inc.
2066 Evergreen Drive
Tamaqua, PA 18252