My Remarks to City Council on Stonewalling by City Officials on Army Corps of Engineering Report on Echo Bay


I delivered my remarks last night as written:

It has become apparent that the residents of New Rochelle have been misled by their local government regarding a serious matter involving significant risk to human life not to mention negative consequences for property owners in and around Echo Bay, namely Sutton Manor, Premium Point, Davenport Neck and the Mill Pond area of Larchmont and significant negative consequences for taxpayers who were quite nearly put on the hook for many millions of dollars in environmental clean up costs.

For six months I have been seeking to obtain public records under the Freedom of Information Law related to the Army Corps of Engineers Report on a proposed (and rejected) aquatic restoration project at Echo Bay. This study was requested by Nita Lowey and undertaken in 2005. The final report was issued in March 2006. The corps found large amounts of Mercury, Lead and Barium in the soil in and around Echo Bay along with other toxic metals and oil.

To the best of my knowledge, this report was never made public, never discussed at a City Council meeting, never made available to ALL members of City Council, not included in the Forest City DEIS or FEIS and withheld from the current City Council members prior to voting on the proposed Land Disposition Agreement.

Fortunately that agreement was rejected by City Council last month but that does not address the issue at hand.

Given the ongoing efforts at misdirection and obfuscation, there can be no other conclusion but that City officials buried this report and are now engaged in a coverup.

Given the risk to human life, the tax impact and the potential damage to property values of property owners in that area it is simply not acceptable for the City to have withheld this information from the public for the past 7+ years and to thwart efforts today to provide this information to the public.

The City Manager finally admitted three weeks ago that he was fully aware of the report and, further, that the report had been shared with Forest City and that the City had coordinated discussions involving Forest City and the Army Corps of Engineers.

This quite a turnaround after 5 months of claims by the City to have no knowledge of the Corps report.

The public and their representatives are entitled to a full accounting both of the Corps report and the apparent effort to hide the report from public view.

I would urge Council to direct the City Manager to turn over to me all relevant records forthwith and put this entire matter on the agenda for discussion next month.

Still no response from City officials. If they think that is going to stop me from getting to the bottom of this, they have not been paying attention.

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.