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Atlantic States Lawsuit Federal Clean Water Act 1972 -Onondaga Lake is declared on super-fund list. - Onondaga Lake declared most polluted lake in U.S.

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Presentation on theme: "Atlantic States Lawsuit Federal Clean Water Act 1972 -Onondaga Lake is declared on super-fund list. - Onondaga Lake declared most polluted lake in U.S."— Presentation transcript:

1 Atlantic States Lawsuit Federal Clean Water Act 1972 -Onondaga Lake is declared on super-fund list. - Onondaga Lake declared most polluted lake in U.S. County under court order to abate the pollution of the Lake. County develops Municipal Compliance Plan. Countys BMPs plan to control CSO pollution is insufficient. NYS Department of Environmental Conservation joins Atlantic States suit against the county. NYS DEC and Atlantic States Legal Foundation settled the suit (Judgment of Consent)

2 Municipal Compliance Plan: Above Ground Sewage Treatment Plant County response is sluggish. County was the only location in the state without Municipal Compliance Plan. Parties to the consent order meet and struggle with outputs and deadlines. A dead result. NYS DEC and Atlantic States find countys plan insufficient and unacceptable. Cleanup process is stalled. Stalled until Republican Party wins the NYS Governorship (i.e. Gov. Pataki)

3 Environmental Engineering Association is formed. Gov. Pataki appoints DEC personnel who support the MCP. Powerful engineering companies (top 500): 1)OBrien & Gear (offices in 26 states) 2) Stearns & Wheter Decide to form a limited liability partnership. Favorite Son Peter Moffa gets Lake modeling contract. EEA effectively blocked out all competing ideas for Lake cleanup. Select Moffa swirler technology as the centerpiece for combined sewer overflow (CSO).

4 Amended Consent Judgment signed by 1.ASLF 2.NY-DEC 3.Onondaga County Gov. Pataki offers 165 million for Lake cleanup. One million of federal funds via Rep. Walsh. Atlantic States Legal Foundation still finds MCP inadequate. ASLF negotiated consent order for years. Atlantic States Legal Foundation reluctantly agrees to sign the ACJ because monetary support is threatened. ASLF negotiates County, State, & Fed. Gov. to improve the proposed ACJ. Onondaga County presents Done Deal to the Syracuse community. County convinces public that there is only one option. ACJ time-table and fining mechanisms are defined. Procedure is developed to alter the technology of a defined project.

5 Onondaga County Formal Public Hearing at Danforth School for Southside Community March 23, 1999 Civic concerns regarding Midland project: 1)Eviction 2)Rats 3)Stigma 4)Smell County plans to fulfill mandate for Public Hearing. EPAs Environmental Assessments (EA) declare a finding of NO Significant Impact for the Midland Ave CSO Abatement Project. County assesses alternate sites for the Sewage Plant. County rules out all locations but Midland. Citizens For A Fair Treatment is formed by residents of Oxford & Blaine.

6 Phase 1 pipeline installed with intent of Shutting Down city/citizen protest. July City condemns a 9-unit apartment building at Oxford & Blaine; 12 families lose their homes. Rep. Walsh initiates one million dollar search for alternative models. Walsh initiative fails. City Council votes 9-0 to make land unavailable for pipeline. Citizens unite under Partnership for Onondaga Creek (POC). Citizens for Fair Treatment are shut-down. POC educates public: 1) Protest at Pirros home 2) Creek Walk 3) Dinner for Alternatives

7 City Common Council votes unanimously to veto sale of land at Midland to County for Above Ground Sewage Treatment Plant. Co. Leg. Approves funding for proposed Regional Treatment Facility (RTF/sewage plant). POC organizes petition (800+ signatures) asking city to not sell land to the county. City Council rejects the Inter-Municipal Agreement: 8 parcels of city-owned land & $3 million of mitigation. POC researches the issue and develops an alternative proposal. County sues City in Federal Court. Judge orders City/County stakeholders to resolve differences through mediation. POC demands stakeholder status. DEC resists POC presence at meeting. DEC accepts.

8 County unilaterally decides to downsize the plant by adding storage and changing the plants position. The County decides what the community gets. During mediation, POC presents criteria for acceptable alternative: no evictions, retain the park, no chemicals Underground Storage! City hires their own consulting engineer who drafts an underground storage plan. County accepts underground storage plan with provisions which the City cannot accept. Nine months of negotiations abruptly end. City backs underground storage plan at a public meeting. POC meets privately with County Executive Pirro to understand revised plan. Syracuse United Neighbors holds public meeting with Pirro.

9 -Mayor files full appeal to judges decision to award Midland land to the County. -County submits revised facilities plan to the NY-DEC. Interlocuting appeal fails and POC demands a full appeal. Continued citizen efforts demand that our elected officials find the political will to fund underground storage. Lines harden between City and County. POC activates citizen campaign through presentations at city resident planning group meetings. POC & Canopy promote citizen awareness of creeks potential through canoe rides & tabling. EPA awards $250 thousand for creek revitalization.

10 Syracuse University Public Interest Law Firm agrees to Research potential title VI claim. County legislator submits POCs written resolution to deal with the $20 million gap. POC researches the value of a Civil Rights claim and/or an Anti-Trust suit. POC connects with the SU Public Interest Law Firm. A visiting environmental attorney assigns two student interns of color to the project. POC researches ways to close the $20 million gap in cost for underground storage and presents findings to the County Legislature. SUPILF finds trigger-point for a Title VI claim and files claim with the EPA against the state. City/County talks begin again about City/County collaboration in closing $20 million gap.

11 County Opens Bids: Bids total $20 million over 2003 plan. (County knew figures were bogus.) County/City talks seem to fail. City appears to barter Midland for Clinton. Blaine Street residents join POC to resist eviction and unfair compensation. SUPILF adds to the Title VI: Questioning projected costs in facilities plan. Evictions & demolition begins. County demolishes neighborhood homes. POC resists: - Present pledge of resistance to the County Legislature. - Civil Disobedience in Sen. Hoffmans office. - Civil Disobedience at community demolition site.

12 Atlantic States Lawsuit POC lobbies state & federal elected officials. POC talks to community groups and VIPs about environmental justice, civil rights, and democracy gone wrong. Invite support for renewal of mediation as resolution to claim. Partner with Environmental Advocates to arrange a press conference in Albany and set up blast fax which sends letters to Gov. Pataki & DEC. POC requests state and county to return to negotiations. POCs request is rejected. SUPILF writes letters to: 1) Support POC letters of request 2) Ask the EPA to suspend funding. POC contacts state groups (Sierra Club, NRDC, WE ACT, etc.) to write letters to the state on our behalf and to urge state to follow states own environmental policy.

13 DEC issues SPDES discharge permit for main sewage plant that includes disputed Midland Ave RTF. SUPILF foils DEC for CSO data: POC hires engineer who collaborates with SUPILF to write in-depth comments to DEC. SUPILF requests discharge permit notification for disputed RTF from DEC. POC realizes that stakeholders did not initially receive a copy of the draft discharge permit. POC informs stakeholders & other concerned groups. POC & ASLF realize that draft permit is essentially flawed due to an inadequate comment period and a lack of monitoring for disputed CSOs. POC starts a public postcard/letter campaign to demand a public hearing. POC holds rally at DEC office.


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