RENewsletter | July 28, 2013

 

The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com

“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”

 

[07/21/2013 – 07/28/2013]

 

Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Take Action

 

 

Opening Salvo:  “Rochesterians love Kodak, but Kodak must clean up their mess”

 

Odds are if you have lived in the Rochester, NY area for awhile, you or someone you know has worked for Kodak.  It was for a time the largest employer in Rochester and in New York State. They treated their employees well and treated their community in such a style that endeared many to them, even as the former photo giant enters bankruptcy. As for how Kodak treated our environment over the years, it’s a different story. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is challenging Kodak Eastman Business Park’s decision to establish a 49 million dollar trust, and then wash its hands of environmental liability. (EPA objects to Kodak's environmental plan , July 17, 2013 Innovation Trail

 

Considering Kodak’s past environmental record, there’s cause for concern (to put it mildly) that 49 million dollars is not sufficient to cover all future environmental concerns over at Kodak Park.  Here is just one of many past stories on allegations of pollution (see also past Rochester-area Brownfield news):

 

Kodak Park tainted past hard to bury - Some claim state oversight isn't stringent enough — Three more Kodak Park buildings will be imploded next month, part of a revitalization program in which 100 structures will have been demolished at the vast manufacturing complex by year's end. But long after the buildings are leveled and rubble is cleared, the impact of decades of pollution will persist. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars in spending, and about $65 million more to come, large swaths of Kodak Park remain contaminated, their soil and groundwater tainted by countless chemical leaks and spills over the years. (August 26, 2007) Democrat & Chronicle

 

And there is reason to be concerned that the public will get stuck with costs over $49 million once the Kodak trust runs out:

 

Possible Deal To Resolve Differences Over Kodak Cleanup Plan There may be a deal in the works to resolve differences among the agencies involved in a cleanup fund for the Eastman Business Park. According to Senator Chuck Schumer's office, there is a framework now for resolving differences that cropped up recently over the plan by Kodak to set aside $49 million in a fund that could be used for any future cleanup needed at the Eastman Business Park, formerly known as Kodak Park. (7/26/2013,WXXI News)

 

A deal? Is the EPA being told to back off on making Kodak liable for environmental damage? Why otherwise would a deal need to be made? Is the EPA in the habit of making such a priori deals with polluters? Where would the health of the Hudson River be today if such a deal was made with GE? If Kodak is confident that $49 million will cover future cleanup, why doesn’t Kodak come up with a 500 million dollar trust ‘knowing’ that the amount will never go over $49 million? At the end of the day, any plan that encourages the EPA to back off Kodak for the full amount to clean up alleged environmental damage and potentially leave ‘we the people’ to foot the bill for decades of possible environmental damage is not really a good deal at all.  Except of course for Kodak.

 

Movements are afoot to encourage the EPA to stick to its guns and make sure Kodak pays, not the public:

 

The governor has a plan to clean up this incredibly contaminated site and is asking Kodak to foot the bill for a $49 million Environmental Trust Fund. But is that enough to clean up this massive toxic contamination and if it’s not, who will pay for the rest of the cleanup costs? We, and many other environmental and social justice organizations, need to express our opposition to the proposed $49 million Kodak environmental liability plan, which significantly underestimates the amount of funding necessary to comprehensively remediate highly complex contaminated sources, soil, buildings, groundwater and sediment contamination at Kodak Park and the Genesee River. The proposed Kodak settlement would require both the state and federal environmental agencies to waive their rights to sue the company in the future for environmental problems. New York state seems to be willing to sign off on this deal but the EPA is wisely objecting to this provision. (Web Essay: This Kodak Moment needs to be challenged, 7/25/2013, Democrat and Chronicle)

 

Speaking of the Genesee River and pollution, there is presently a program by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) “to enable citizen scientists to collect biological data for assessment of water quality”.  It would be sensible to find out the total extent of pollution around Rochester before we write off any corporation’s environmental liability:

 

DEC Looking for Volunteers for Stream and River Monitoring DEC is actively recruiting citizen scientists to collect biological samples from streams and rivers in the Genesee, Delaware, Hudson, and Mohawk River watersheds as part of the Wadeable Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) project to assess water quality. (WAVE, July 24, 2013) NYS DEC

 

Many businesses today realize that it doesn’t pay to pollute with the government and environmentalists looking over their shoulder. The world of business is changing from one where businesses could pollute and walk away from the resulting damage to one where they cannot. Read: Good to Green: Managing Business Risks and Opportunities in the Age of Environmental Awareness.  I’m sure it will eventually become the norm to operate a corporation without contaminating our environment and jeopardizing the public’s health, but not until we rid ourselves of the absurdity that environmental regulations are ‘too burdensome’ on the business community. The real burden is trying to clean up old industrial sites on the backs of tax payers.

 

FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com  (Click on my email for feedback)

 

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* Got news? | Go to my blog: Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY or Tweet me @ http://twitter.com/#!/FrankRrrr   On Twitter and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RochesterEnvironment  and Examiner/RochesterEnvironment,

 

I post local environmental events, news, and commentary as soon as it happens. The ability of this newsletter to inform and get the public focused on our local environment is dependent on reaching a lot of folks. If you think this newsletter, which continually informs our community on our local environmental news, events, actions, is worthwhile, please encourage others to sign up.  We who care about our environment and future need to ‘Occupy’ the Rochester media to change how the public views environmental news. This newsletter looks and works great on your tablet device.

 

The great conundrum of our times is that in a time of rapidly occurring Climate Change and a rapid disintegration of the environment that we need to thrive and survive, mainstream media still marginalizes environmental concerns. [Check often for this continually updated list on the possible consequences of Climate Change in our region--supported by facts.] If there isn’t a quick and substantial change in how environmental concerns are reported, edited, and chosen in mainstream media, the public will continue to believe that environmental concerns are merely special interest matters, issues they can avoid if they choose.  How can we inform the public and monitor our environment without abridging our Freedoms--in enough time to save ourselves?

 

“Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.” -- Carl Sagan

 

My companion book to RochesterEnvironment.com written in 2005 still holds true. Now, “We Don’t Get It!” is an E-Book on Amazon.com and Kindle Amazon.com: We Don't Get It! eBook: Frank Regan: Books

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NewsLinks Environmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]

 

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Updates Daily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments.]

 

 

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Events Rochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.]  If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com with (EV event) in the subject line. Also, be sure to check other calendars and environmental series for multi-day events.

 

August 2013

 

 

September 2013

 

 

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Action Take Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date. 

 

 

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