An Open Note to My Friends in Pompton Lakes
In the last 24 hours,Â friends in Pompton Lakes have sent me three documents. Our thanks to Edison Wetlands Association forÂ filing the OPRA records request and doingÂ the DEP file review to produce some ofÂ these important documents.
Each one, individually, would be a cause for concern.
But all three at once -Â especially given the high profile self describedÂ commitmentsÂ by US EPA and byÂ NJ DEP to the Pompton Lakes community – make my head explode and therefore demandÂ a public accountability and shaming. ThusÂ this brief note.
First, is the EPA so calledÂ “unannounced” inspection of the Dupont site that Dave Kluesner of EPA distributed via email onÂ JulyÂ 6.
That document,Â on EPA letterhead, dated June 8, 2011,Â described a May 5, 2011 “RCRA Site Visit and Assessment”Â by theÂ EPA RCRA enforcement and compliance office.
This is a sham effort by EPA to create the false appearance of some on scene presence at the Dupont siteÂ andÂ enforcement oversight.
But it is just manipulative bullshit, my friends.
- Why is EPA relying on the verbal representations of Dupont officials regarding compliance and environmental conditions at the site?
- Why is EPA not conducting field sampling to verify claims and determine compliance?
- Why areÂ EPA RCRA field enforcement staff just getting “familiar” (that is EPA’s word to describe the purpose of the visit) with the Dupont site, after a RCRA permit was issued by EPA almost 20 years ago, back in 1992? Could this possibly be their first inspectionÂ there?
- Why was the EPA site inspection not based on a punch list thatÂ tracks backÂ toÂ enforceable specific RCRA facility permit requirements and the RCRA regulations? This is how all other site inspection and compliance and enforcement oversight actionsÂ I am aware ofÂ are conducted.
Second is the EPA’s 1982 SuperfundÂ Hazard Ranking Score (HRS) for the Dupont site. That 1982 EPA document was conveyed by US EPA Region 2 to NJ DEP via a March 8, 2009 letter.
That’s a very relevant document, given the longstanding debate about listing the site on Superfund or continuing to manage it under jointÂ NJ DEPÂ and EPA RCRA Corrective Action Program oversight.
The HRS scoring is a pre-requisite to Superfund listing. Scores are based on risk to human health and the environment. Scores above 28.5 qualify for Superfund. The Dupont site scored 3 times higher than that, even without risks from vapor intrusion into homes considered.
Again, thisÂ illustratesÂ total bullshit.
Why are we just finding out about this document now? Why did EWA have to file an OPRA records request and do a file review to find it and force its disclosure?
The 1982 HRS document was sent from EPA to NJ DEP backÂ in March 2009.
- Why did both EPA and DEP not subsequently release it to the public during the course of the intensive and controversial RCRA v. CERCLA debate?
- Why didÂ bothÂ agencies let the public mistakenly believe that no HRS was done? I erroneously wrote that here at Wolfenotes as well.
Both NJ DEP and US EPA were asked point blank about this HRS issue from day 1. I can only assume either:
- gross incompetence
- bad faith and cover up
- combination of both
Someone needs to ask NJ DEP Commissioner Martin and US EPA RA Enck those questions
Third,Â is a document Â I just gotÂ and was asked to review, titledÂ “Acid Brook Delta – Revised Corrective Measures Implementation Workplan” (December 2010).
But before I even look at it, I must note thatÂ the regulatory RCRA Corrective Action cleanup decisions wereÂ made by Dupont and approved by EPA and DEP way back in October 2009 (see: RASR/CMS at page 2).Â
[Update: There seems to be some manufactured confusion about how the public is limited due to prior DEP and EPA regulatory approvals of Dupont’s cleanup plans. So let me lay it out more clearly. Dupont unilaterally selected the cleanup objectives, alternatives, and selected cleanup approach. Then EPA and DEP approvals were issued for Dupont’s cleanup plan without any public notice or public comment.Â Dupont is now just telling us how they are going to implement EPA and DEPÂ approved plans. This is a sham.Â Public comments can only tinker around the margins, but the public can have noÂ impact on cleanup alternatives or the basic scope and technical approach to the cleanup. In contrast, under Superfund, Dupont is not in the driver’s seat. The public is provided an opportunity to comment on cleanup alternatives,Â cleanup goals and technical approaches before EPA (not Dupont)Â selects the cleanup option. That’s why Dupont opposes Superfund – EPA can select a costly cleanup option preferred by the community (one example: the geographic scope and impacts of off site contaminant migration. Dupont has limited that to portions of ABD and lakefront uplands). But DupontÂ still remains in control. Proving this, here is text from page 2 (see also response to comment from Ms Kachur):
A Remedial Action Selection Report/Corrrective Measures Study (RASR/CMS) was prepared [by Dupont] toÂ identify the remedial options for the Acid Broook Delata Area (ABD). The RASR/CMS included Remedial Action Objectives [defined and selected by Dupont] to achieve protection of human health and the environment and an evaluation [conducted by Dupont] (sic)Â potential remedial measures, with removal selected [by Dupont] as the preferred remedial approach.Â In October 2009, the NJ DEP and US EPA Â approved the RASR/CMS. Therefore, this document has been developed [by Dupont] to outline the remedial approach to be used [by Dupont] to implement removal of sediment and soil from the ABD and surrounding uplands [delineated by Dupont] to achieve the Remedial Action Outcomes [defined and selected by Dupont].Â Â Â
Get what’s going on yet? – end update]
So what can be done now?Â It’s far too late to change the scope of the cleanup. Best case is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
This too looks like manipulative window dressing.
Given all the political rhetoric andÂ EPA commitments about enhancing community involvement in historically back room cleanup decisions made byÂ Dupont and rubber stamped by the NJ DEP, this is especially disgusting.
Over and out.