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Passaic River Clean Up Moves Forward

Date : Fri, 25 May 2012 12:49:42 -0400

For Immediate Release
May 25, 2012 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Passaic River Clean Up Moves Forward The third victory for cleaning up the Passaic River was secured yesterday.A Superior Court judge ruled Maxus Energy Corporation is responsible for past and future cleanup costs to remove contaminated sediments from the lower Passaic River.Cleanup efforts have been underway since March and this decision will provide more funding to ensure the Passaic is cleaned to the highest standards to protect the environment and community of Newark.The EPA and DEP are overseeing the removal of contaminated sediment, particularly dioxin, that has been dumped into the Passaic River and Newark Bay. This contamination poses risks to both human health and the marine ecosystem. This cleanup has been long overdue and desperately needed to be done.We hope this decision will help accelerate the cleanup of the Passaic River and Newark Bay.

"Holding the polluter accountable will help to remove contaminated sediment from the River and Bay.This is the third victory, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done with the rest of the pollution, and the River and Bay still needed to be cleaned," *said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. * The removal and disposal of dioxin-contaminated sediment and debris is currently underway in the area of the River located next to the Diamond Alkali Superfund Site. The Diamond Alkali plant manufactured pesticides, weed killers, and Agent Orange, the defoliant used during the Vietnam War. The process of making Agent Orange asked for large quantities of dioxin. Dioxin is one of the most deadly substances known to man that bio accumulates in people and is known to be the most carcinogenic. Dioxin is an extremely harmful substance not only to humans, but to the ecosystem as well. The dioxin in the River and Newark Bay has caused fish advisories in New Jersey all the way down to Florida and up in Maine. Under both state and federal law companies that discharge toxic chemicals into the environment that cause a loss of public use are assessed with Natural Resource Damages. The public fisheries, aquatic ecosystems, wetlands, rivers, and estuaries belong to all of us. When a company contaminates and prevents the use of that resource they have to pay damages. Since this site has contaminated the river, bay, impacted fisheries up and down the east coast that loss of resources and damages is quite substantial.

"Pollution from this plant has gone on for far too long. The Agent Orange from this plant not only hurt people and destroyed the environment in Vietnam, but people here in Newark. My Uncle Ed and Aunt Lorraine lived three blocks away from the Occidental plant and both died of liver cancer.I know firsthand the impacts this plant has had on the people of Newark and this cleanup is critical to improving the health of residents and the environment surrounding the Passaic River and Newark Bay," said Tittel. Something that was used during the Vietnam War is still affecting our health and our environment today.This cleanup has to happen and determining liability is important to achieving a comprehensive clean up of the Passaic River and the Newark Bay. We thank the DEP for stepping up and having the responsible parties pay for the cleanup.

"There is a lot more that needs to be done to clean up the lower Passaic River, but this Superios Court decision get the funds in place to clean up the River and Bay. We have to make the responsible parties pay for the cleanup and then go after them for Natural Resource Damages," *said Tittel. *"We have allowed this site to pollute this community for too long.This has to end and we have to hold those responsible accountable."

Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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Received on 2012-05-25 09:49:42

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
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