Home > Uncategorized > Team Dupont Pilloried On Pollution Permit in Pompton Lakes (again)

Team Dupont Pilloried On Pollution Permit in Pompton Lakes (again)

Pompton Lakes is a Communty At the Breaking Point

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Vojo Congura tells his story to DEP - he wasn't asking permission to be used as a passive instrument of peace. He was an agent actively demanding justice!Â

“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group.”  ~~~  Franklin Delano Roosevelt

[Update: 11/18/10 – watch New Green Media video of public hearing: “Pompton Lakes Residents Fight Back

Against a backdrop of religious iconography, Monday night DEP held a public hearing that exposed moral depravity and again raised the question: Does Dupont own DEP?

Why would DEP even consider – no less agree with - billion dollar corporate giant Dupont’s request to save a few thousand dollars on groundwater monitoring costs in an effort to be even less accountable to the people of the community Dupont has poisoned?

Just the opposite should be happening. Dupont should be forced to expand soil and groundwater monitoring to:

  • identify the sources of groundwater pollution, which an Oct. 10 EPA letter admitted remain unknown after 22 years of work at the site;
  • determine the presence of some of the 500 unregulated chemicals that DEP has found in NJ public water supplies, and
  • test for pollution at over 200 known contaminated locations on the Dupont site that have not yet been cleaned up (DEP calls them “areas of concern”). 

I usually write wonky policy stories, and try to use photos or stories about people with integrity, and only as necessary to support the policy arguments. In fact, I sometimes criticize main stream jounalists for lazily using the emotional manipulation of visual images and human interests stories as an excuse for analysis and real investigative journalism.

But the stories I heard (again) from residents on Monday night’s DEP hearing were compelling and need to be told.

Vojo Congura’s two kids had to watch their 46 year old mom suffer and die an agonizing death from cancer.

They now fear for their own health and don’t go in the basement any more.

Vojo’s home borders the Dupont property.

Before he found out about the Dupont toxic pollution, he invested his life’s savings in his home. He made improvements, expecting to retire on the increasing value of his only asset.

In 2008, his home was valued at $600,000 – but now he can’t sell for $150,000, a quarter of that.

Insead of a comfortable retirement, he got something else from Dupont.

His wife is dead, family suffering, and his life’s savings, hopes and dreams smashed.

All as a result of Dupont – who has poisoned his home and he believes killed his wife – with toxic chemicals that are migrating off the Dupont site.  Here’s what Vojo advised DEP to do:

“step on their throats like they stepped on ours.”

And Vojo Congura is not the only one destroyed and suffering in Pompton Lakes.

If they had any integrity or social responsibility, Dupont would have already agreed to withdraw this application.

But, that’s not likely so folks should contact DEP Commissioner Bob Martin and EPA Regional Administrator Judy Enck and demand that they enforce the cleanup laws, fulfill their commitments to restore transparency and accountability, and deny Dupont’s request.

Lets get Dupont moving with cleanup, not coverup. 

Dupont's consultant Steve Rllard of O'Brien & Gere has worked behind the scenes with DEP and heads up Team Dupont

Dupont's consultant Steve Rollard of O'Brien & Gere (L) explains Dupont's request. He has worked behind the scenes with DEP (R) and heads up Team Dupont (the wholly owned subsidiary, DEP site remediation program).

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  1. November 18th, 2010 at 14:31 | #1

    According to Environmental Reporter Magazine, DuPont is the No. 1 Polluter out of their 100 list in the World! Doesn’t the NJDEP know this and if they do, how in good conscience, could they even consider this application? Why hasn’t an full independent investigation of what is on the DuPont Properties and in our neigbhorhoods ever occurred and is long over due since the soil and groundwater contamination became known to the public almost two decades ago? The NJDEP must remember they are here to protect us, residents, taxpayers of New Jersey who pay their salaries! The public hearing started off with the NJDEP stating that they supported the changes on-the-table in DuPont’s Permit-By-Rule Application even before they even heard from the Public! These changes negatively affect the public! 1. Less Monitoring, testing and reporting and let’s not even talk about taking the “lead” out of the equation and the 5-year renewal that is currently required but in the future, cease to exist! I have bene crying out for almost three years now that we need hand-on daily monitoring and it has yet to even be a glimpse in their eyes! I am told after all this time that they do not have the manpower to make that happen! Yet, they are still in charge of this toxic soap opera! The people have spoken and the NJDEP needs to listen to those suffering in contaminated neighborhoods in Pompton Lakes, NJ with people getting sick and dying around them and seeing their homes values and in many cases, all that the residents have for their future, no longer be worth what they were and may never be again! In many cases, the homes were their retirement funds for the future! Like I said, they must protect these residents in the fine state of NJ. The residents who did nothing to pollute their neighborhoods and are some of the most amazing hard-working people I have ever known! Mr. Wolfe, thank you so much for caring about our future!!!! You are truly an amazing human being! Lisa Riggiola, Executive Director, Citizens For A Clean Pompton Lakes, http://www.theccpl.org.

  2. November 19th, 2010 at 19:29 | #2

    I agree that residents are the true “stakeholders” in NJ. But this administration has managers and staff at DEP undergoing “customer service” training. They are being told that their “customers” are the industrial entities responsible for the pollution! It is just “New Jersey is Open for Business” (Christie Whitman) Part Deux! There are even postings around the building listing how to provide good customer service! And NJ residents have themselves to blame because they either didn’t vote or decided to vote for someone who sang the siren call of lower taxes.

  3. EKachur
    December 9th, 2010 at 09:53 | #3

    How can the EPA or NJDEP say that it is unclear if the groundwater contamination is coming from the RCRA regulated units or any of the areas of concern? What the heck? Printing out the letter from EPA to you, thanks for posting it!

  1. November 20th, 2010 at 00:53 | #1
  2. December 22nd, 2010 at 10:32 | #2
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