Thursday, August 10, 2006


1. The chances of getting cancer from the soils in Newhall are many times lower than your chances of being struck by lightning

That’s right. As an American, you have a 1 in 600,000 chance of being struck by lightning in any given year. Over thirty years, your risk of being struck by lightning is 1 in 20,000. That’s not very high. Most of us never give it much thought.

As a Newhall resident, even if your soil had “contamination” levels double the artificial standards being used by the DEP at the Newhall site, and you ate a 100 milligram tablet of your soil every day of your life, the probability that it would give you cancer within your lifetime is only 1 in 500,000.

Needless to say, that’s not the sort of risk that would make most of us want to spend hundreds of millions of dollars digging up the neighborhood.

2. During the “remediation” residents will kicked out of their homes

Believe it or not, people from the neighborhood have never been told by the DEP that they will be forced to leave their homes for the duration of the remediation of their property and the properties of their neighbors. The DEP is planning to remove the top four feet of their soil from the neighborhood, engineer a soil cap for the area, and then fill the area with non-native dirt to bring it back up to the original surface level. That’s not just going to take a lot of money. It's going to take a long time, and people won’t be happy about being evicted from their properties while they are "remediated"…so the DEP decided not to tell us.

In truth, the DEP hasn’t figured out what to do about the inconvenient fact that people happen to live on the “parcels” that they want to pay their contractors so much money to “remediate.” They’ve never really had to deal with this problem before. But they’re learning. We’ve certainly seen an improvement over the plan the DEP was working with back in December, before people got wise to what they were up to. At that time, they were planning on razing over 100 homes and evicting the current residents permanently.

3. The DEP’s “remedy” will only worsen the problem it claims to be trying to solve

That’s right. By the DEP’s artificially extreme standards for determining which soils need to be remediated, the proposed "remedy" will simply recreate or even exacerbate the “problem.” After the beautiful historic trees of our area are uprooted, after our gardens are destroyed, after the buildings on our property are razed, after hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of our native soil are excavated and hauled away in trucks, what will have been accomplished? Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars will have been spent, several years will have passed, our property values will have been destroyed, a few select contractors will have been enriched, but there will have been no “remediation”. In most cases, uncontaminated soil will simply have been replaced with uncontaminated fill. If we were to apply, perhaps as much as a decade from now, the standards that are being applied by the DEP on our properties today, the whole area would be again identified as “waste” and again require remediation. At great taxpayer expense, the DEP will have returned us to the status quo.

Don't like it? Neither do we.

Come to the meeting on August 17. It will be held in the ballroom at the Michael J. Adanti Student Center at Southern Connecticut State University at 6:30 pm.