the Winners Are...
viewing the recent television commercials that support St.
Lawrence Cement’s proposal to close its existing site in Catskill
and construct a $300 million plant expansion across the river
in Greenport, one is left with the impression that SLC is
a company that cares about the environment and the health
of those living in the area. But an award recently granted
to the cement giant paints a far different picture than the
one seen on TV.
Last Thursday, Citizens’ Environment Coalition held its Dirty
Dozen Award ceremony in Albany. The recipients of the award—which
consisted of a dozen frozen rotten eggs—were chosen based
on the damage they have caused to New York’s air, land and
water, as well as health risks they posed to New York state
residents in the past year. A selection committee composed
of environmental professionals, public-health experts and
health-and-safety advocates, evaluated each nomination from
across the state and granted the top 12 polluters the award.
many polluters pose a threat to New York state,” said Bobbi
Chase, associate director of CEC, “this year’s winners are
particularly notorious for the dangers they pose to the environment
and their neighbors.”
Among those to make the list were the New York State Department
of Health, for not sharing cancer incidence and mortality
data with residents; the Environmental Protection Agency,
for failing to come up with an adequate cleanup plan for the
neighborhood around the World Trade Center site (60 percent
of the staff of nearby Stuyvesant High School, for example,
suffered respiratory problems eight months after Sept. 11);
and SLC, for operating its Catskill plant with outdated pollution-control
technology (the factory’s old equipment is grandfathered under
the Clean Air Act).
SLC was nominated for the award by Friends of Hudson, a 3,300
member Hudson-based citizens group that opposes the plant.
30 years of being grandfathered from the Clean Air Act at
its polluting Catskill plant,” said Sam Pratt, executive director
of Friends of Hudson, “St. Lawrence Cement is long overdue
in cleaning up its Greene County Operations.”
of Hudson] nominated us for the award,” said Daniel Odescalchi,
spokesman for SLC, in a written statement, “so it is no surprise
at all to us that the facts were left out of their message.
Today St. Lawrence operates a facility in Catskill that is
well within all health and safety standards set forth by state
and federal regulators. Our new replacement plant will be
a great improvement to an existing operation that is already
Other “winners” of the award include the Cheektowaga Town
Board, Chemical Waste Management, Onondaga County Executive
Nicholas Pirro and Gov. George E. Pataki, Diaz Chemical Corporation,
Environmental Protection Agency Regional 2 and New York City
Department of Education, New York Organic Fertilizer Company,
Newtown Creek, and NYG Energy, Inc.
Profit, We Suffer
group of activists convened outside the Business Council
of New York State’s Albany headquarters last Thursday
(April 3) to celebrate Big Business Day. The event organized
by Citizens Work, a group started last year by Ralph
Nader, was part of a nationwide action to “stop the
corporate war on democracy” and to protest the war in
Iraq. Protesters said that certain corporate giants
like the Bechtel Group, Fluor Corporation, Parsons Group
and defense contractors Carlyle Group and Global Crossing
stand to make millions off the war, while massive cuts
in social spending for health care, education and welfare
will hurt millions of Americans.