2003 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Emery Graham <egraham@ci.wilmington.de.us>
Date: 24 Jul 2003 18:22:32 -0000
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: RE: [CPEO-BIF] State of Delaware Environmental Agency Caught In Violation of EP

Thanks. I, and some of my colleagues, have a problem with not requiring the state or the polluter to remove any increased risks of cancer for the residents and users of waste site impacted areas. Theirs is a fundamental problem with having laws that aren't enforced, citizen rights that are selectively ignored, and insurance assets that are not identified and used to indemnify people from losses. 

Risk based clean ups are a farce to people who are treated to the strictest type of law enforcement when it comes to the range of social crimes. These folks believe in law and order, even the criminals expect to get caught or killed. They, and I, have a tremendous problem with the administration of laws that make the violators immune from the hassle, inconvenience, and justice that a fair enforcing of the laws, as written, would require for PRP's and the State, in the role of public safety provider. 

Somehow the plea for accepting the mental pressure of living with a six inch layer of dirt between your child and some toxic contaminant gets lost among people with morbidity and mortality rates from cancer, asthma, and early childhood death that top the charts. I think the pleas should be made to the PRP's, insurance companies, and the courts to require full removal of all toxic substances from these highly populated areas. 

Why should the poor be expected to continue subsidizing the landowners? If it's just circumstance and power differentials, then let it be stated as such; but the appeals based on "risk control" to support acquiescence while living in, on, an around toxic wastes is inhumane, in my opinion. They make absolutely no sense. Even more, I find it difficult to understand, from a moral position, how people fix their mouths to make the arguments. 

I really suspect that DNREC has become so blatant in its disregard for justice and humanity that they've violated some professional code of practice that the Federal agency won't tolerate. To my knowledge, it's unprecedented to have Federal EPA enforcement agents, from two different regions, serve an investigation warrant on a State environmental agency.

As I write, DNREC has made no effort to remove arsenic laden soils from a Section 8 subsidized housing complex in the heart of the urban area of Wilmington. I see the children playing in the very side and backyard dirt that DNREC officials blandly suggested that their parents prevent them from playing on. This facility has been documented for more than 18 months with no removal or protective actions required of the owner. What do risk standards say about arsenic levels, young male and female children, and harm to the developing human organism? What's required of ethical public servants?


-----Original Message-----
From: LSchnapf@aol.com [mailto:LSchnapf@aol.com] 
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2003 12:39 PM
To: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: Re: [CPEO-BIF] State of Delaware Environmental Agency Caught In Violation of EP


I cannot comment on your suspicions of the DNREC. However, if its  VCP is like other state programs or follows EPA guidance, I think what it means is that the cleanup whether it is in a rural or urban area is that the remedy will be protective of human health and the environment based on the demonstrated exposure pathways. The land use will determine what exposure pathways are present. 

This does not mean that people in urban parks will necessarily be expected to be exposed to aspirin sized particles of arsenic. A risk-based cleanup may mean that either the arsenic will be removed to the extent practicable and that if residual concentrations remain above the state cleanup levels, then a land use control such as a cap or several feet of soil cover may be appropriate of the land use control can be shown to be reliable for purposes of preventing exposure. It does not mean leaving waste on a site that people can be exposed to. Risk-based cleanups are supposed to address the "risks" posed by exposure by eliminating the pathway or controlling the exposure. 

Obviously, this does require some sort of professional judgement and the public would presumably have input to opine on the protectiveness or reliability of the proposed land use restriction.


Larry Schnapf
55 E.87th Street #8B/8C
New York, NY 10128
212-996-5395 phone
212-593-5955 fax
www.environmental-law.net website

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