Coalition of Communities for Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice is our Goal

Response From Scott Miller at EPA Region 4 Superfund

Re: Gainesville- Cabot Koppers Site
From: "[email protected]" <[email protected]>Add to Contacts
To: Tennie White <[email protected]


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Ms. White,
Replies to your questions are provided below.
Thanks,
Scott Miller
Remedial Project Manager
Superfund Division
Superfund Remedial Branch
Section C
U.S. EPA Region 4
61 Forsyth Street, SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone (404) 562-9120
Fax (404) 562-8896


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  |Tennie White <[email protected]>                                                                                                          |
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  |Scott [email protected]                                                                                                              |
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  [email protected], Matt [email protected], Art Smith <[email protected]>, [email protected],                  |
  [email protected], Bobbie Hardiman <[email protected]>, Brian [email protected], Casey Demoss                |
  |<[email protected]>, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]|
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  |03/23/2011 08:52 PM                                                                                                                        |
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  |Gainesville- Cabot Koppers Site                                                                                                            |
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Dear Mr. Miller,

On behalf of the Coalition of Communities I would like to ask a four
questions concerning the Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site and the final
cleanup plan.

1. How can you have a final cleanup plan when the offsite contamination
has not been delineated?  There have been four rounds of soil sampling
nearby the former Koppers Site which have provided a general footprint
of where offsite soil contamination is found.  The approaches to cleaning up offsite soil contamination are limited to one of three options under Florida State law and do not vary by where contamination is found.  The typical approach used at a residential property is to remove up to the top two feet of soil and replace it with clean soil.


2. What exactly is an impermeable engineered cap?  An impermeable engineered cap is a geosynthetic liner that provides an impenetrable barrier to water and other items from coming into contact with soil that is below it.


3. When did streets become more important than people in assessing dioxin impact?  Sampling is being done nearby the former Koppers facility for dioxin TEQ in soils, sediments, surface water, and groundwater.  There are no plans to sample streets.


4. When is the 5 Year Review Report available for the Cabot Koppers site?  The 2011 Five-Year review will be available for the Koppers Site in mid-April.

Respectfully
Tennie White
COCEJ


 

 

Response from Protect Gainsville Organization

<B>From:</B> Kim A. Popejoy [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Friday, March 25, 2011 6:25 PM
To: Tennie White
Cc: [email protected]; 'MICHAEL PARSONS'; Kate Ellison; Kim Popejoy; Pat Cline; Robert Pearce
Subject: Re: Letter concerning Dioxins in House Dust

 

I believe that those of us on the PGC board including our Technical Advisor agree with your statement that dioxin is a hazardous material that should be remediated to background levels in our soils and our homes.  The purpose of our letter on dust is to emphasize one of the points made in the study which you have forwarded to me:

In addition, bioassays and immunoassays are also sometimes employed as less expensive and relatively rapid screening methods for determination of total TEQ in environmental and biological samples (Ziccardi et al., 2000). However, HRGC-HRMS remains the only way to measure specific dioxin congener levels (Rappe et al., 1979; Schecter and Tiernan, 1985; Schecter et al., 1985). There are a relatively small number of laboratories worldwide which have been certified by the WHO for the analysis of dioxins in blood (WHO, 2000).”  A team of state, county and UF personnel including our Technical Advisor are working toward a truly definitive discovery of the hazards in peoples homes that are caused by Koppers and the responsibility of Beazer East.  We also believe that there are some homes that are close to Koppers whose assay test results correlate with the more definitive soil testing that has been done.

 

PGC looks forward to working with our neighbors, our local governments, USEPA and the PRP to fulfill our mission to “provide Gainesville Area citizens with accurate and comprehensible information about the Cabot/Koppers Superfund site. Through analytical research, outreach education, and community participation, Gainesville citizens will have an active voice in the Cabot/Koppers Superfund site cleanup process.

 

Kim A. Popejoy
President, Protect Gainesville's Citizens
Chair, Superfund Art Project
Co-Chair, Global Community Council
President, Principled Real Estate
Author
http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kimpopejoy
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/26635

 

From: Tennie White

Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2011 2:11 PM

To: [email protected]

Cc: [email protected] ; 'MICHAEL PARSONS'

Subject: Letter concerning Dioxins in House Dust

 

The Dioxin test for House Dust as the substrate has nothing to do with Dioxins found in living tissue or dead tissue for that matter. Dioxin strongly adheres to dust. Dust is respirable. I would be extremely reluctant to expose babies and children to respirable Dioxins.

 

Stephen Foster Neighborhood Protection Group

Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site / Stephen Foster Neighborhood Protection Group

Ms. Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming

US EPA Region 4 Administrator

Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center

61 Forsyth Street, SW

Atlanta, GA 30303-89613 Nov. 10, 2010

Dear Ms. Keys Fleming,

Firstly, congratulations on your recent appointment as the new EPA Region 4 Administrator.

Americans can surely now look forward to a long overdue new era of accountability, transparency, and environmental justice under your leadership. In our own case, we, the members of the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Protection Group in Gainesville, Florida, home of the the University of Florida Gators ("Gator Nation"), would be happy to work closely with you on our own fight for long-needed environmental justice for our city and especially our own specific neighborhood. In particular, we look forward to your implementation of President Obama's mandate for even stronger environmental protection by the EPA.

The Cabot-Koppers Superfund site is massive, lying right at the very heart of our city, which comprises over 185,000 residents. There are 12 schools within a 2-mile radius of the site, including the University of Florida, with its 55,000 students and over 32,000 employes. Thus, parents of these students are unknowingly sending their children to a highly contaminated city to be exposed to such high levels of dioxins and other carcinogenic compounds were they live, learn, and play. The staff and students, plus the people of Gainesville, have been forced to endure the ills of the Cabot-Koppers Superfund site for almost 30 years now since its federal designation in 1983. At that time, we were just 37th on the proposed clean-up list which, throughout these many, many years of neglect of our own case, has since burgeoned to over 1,600 sites, nationwide. When learning of this fact during an investigation by CNN into Gainesville's Cabot-Koppers Superfund site, EPA’s new Superfund Program Director, Mathy Stanislaus, admitted that “residents should be angry for how long this is going on and how long they have waited for their cleanup.”

We are stressed, angry, and entirely frustrated but we don't wish to be so. As upright, tax-paying and citizens of this country we simply want a proper plan from our federal government for the effective remediation of the Cabot-Koppers Superfund site, as well as our surrounding homes.

We also want our well-deserved relocation for those whose homes that are severely contaminated with dioxins and toxic heavy metals, such as Arsenic and Chromium, that have migrated from the site inside our very homes. We absolutely do not want the hollow and flawed plan that EPA Region 4 are now trying to force upon us. Indeed, virtually everyone in Gainesville who has studied this proposed plan, from our local city and county politicians, to hundreds of neighborhood representatives, have formally, wholly, and resoundingly rejected the current nonsensical EPA plan. That alone should tell you all that you need to know about the problem. Regardless, we do not want any haste to gloss over our needs. We want EPA Region 4 to now act with speed and efficiency but also with an appropriate level of financial investment, not the half-measures that are currently in place. nationwide, there is no group who deserves this more now, based solely upon the patience and forbearance of suffering that we have shown throughout these almost three decades.

So, as you can surely appreciate, it is definitely time for the federal government to prove to its people that the USA has not become just another "third-world" country. Again, on the matter of urgency and how governments should truly take action to protect their people, the EPA could certainly learn from the recent mining accident in Chile and take note how how quickly and efficiently the Chilean government stepped up and got the job done to rescue 32 of its citizens with spectacular speed and truly commendable compassion and efficiency. The EPA should do likewise by finally stepping up and doing what is right for Gainesville's clean-up and permanent relocation of Cabot-Koppers Superfund site afflicted residents.

We have too long endured EPA's mistreatment and total disregard for our testimonials of pain, stress, suffering, sickness, and death of family members and our pets. Now our own test results (note NOT the EPA's) indicate extremely high levels of dioxins and heavy metals inside our homes, rendering them extremely hazardous as places to live and worthless as real estate investments. But all this has fallen on deaf ears because EPA Region 4 staff have failed to treat us with respect and dignity. Nor have they allowed us to properly participate in deciding our own future as required by EPA guidelines and federal and state law. Indeed, the EPA's Cabot- Koppers site staff track-record is widely recognized as being abominable and unjust.

We can tell you that, based upon our current experiences with EPA Region 4, we refuse to be further ridiculed, marginalized, ignored, bullied, and/or terrorized by its staff. They have deliberately attempted to ensure that Gainesville's citizenry have not been allowed to properly and fully voice their concerns, while clearly allowing TAG Grant Group members (Protect Gainesville's Citizens / PGC) and its affiliates to control and manipulate various meetings and the so-called citizens comments at such gatherings. At such meetings, Region 4 staff's behavior has been repulsive, embarrassing and unacceptable to those of us that where forced to endure this abuse. As a consequence of such behavior, we certainly do not now trust any EP Region 4 staff.

In your new position of leadership, we sincerely hope, then, that you will want to regain this trust by rectifying the many problems that this regional agency has long exhibited. Furthermore, it is quite obvious to us that there is no compassion or humanity within the ranks of EPA's Region 4 staff for the suffering residents. Conversely, it obviously does care about corporate polluters profits and bottom lines.

From now on, we refuse to participate in any EPA's Region 4 so-called Community Involvement meetings. We will send our comments directly to you and Ms. Lisa Jackson with copies to President Obama, Wildlaw our neighborhood attorneys the Class Action Lawsuit Group, all

residents' personal attorneys' on this matter and the national media, such as CNN, to ensure that we have a voice in the process. We trust then that, in this way, our comments will finally be properly placed in the official Public Record.

Listed below, numerically but in no particular order of priority (they are ALL important), are examples of just some of the many issues and frustrations we have experienced from attempting to work with EPA Region 4 staff:

1. A prime example of a corrupt meeting was the August 5th, 2010 EPA "Community Involvement Meeting" at the Stephen Foster Elementary School in Gainesville Florida. In short, it was a total fiasco. Suppression was obvious from the very beginning of this meeting. The EPA panel before us was not introduced; only Ms. Spencer as the monitor introduced herself and announced to the citizens gathered there that there was a big police presence to take care of anyone that would get out of order. This statement was a major surprise to many members of our community as we had never required any police supervision at any prior meetings on the Koppers issue. Ms. Spencer's manner set the tone for the rest of the meeting.

Mr. Scott Miller and Mr. David Keefer, Chief of the Superfund remedial branch in the agency's Southern region only introduced themselves well into the meeting after the audience asked who was speaking.

We would all soon learn that if one wanted to speak, you needed to have signed and turned in a request to speak on an index card in advance. Most of our members who came prepared to speak on the record had arrived early while there were few people in the auditorium. Meanwhile, members from the PGC, EPA's TAG Grant group were seemed to be the only attendees to have already submitted their "speaking" cards. The rest of the community was never notified of the process.

As the meeting proceeded and people in the audience noticed that only PGC members and affiliates, most of whom do not live in the affected area, were being called on to speak, the audience started to raise their voices and question what was going on and to demand to speak. At this point, Ms. Spencer told citizens about the index card requirement, amending that anyone who wanted to speak and had not turned in the mysterious index card could return to the meeting

sign-in sheet and by adding and x next to your name you would be added to the speaking list with a promise that we would be called and allowed to speak. Of course this did not happen. Mr. Roy Giersbach who suffers from multiple cancers and illness, who has lost ten members of his household to cancers also tried to speak he picked up the microphone and was not allowed to finish his statements, Ms. Spencer took the microphone from Mr. Giersbach. It is quite clear to us that EPA Region 4 does not want to document the real demands, testimonials and passion from the truly immediately affected residents for the records. Then, disenfranchised residents became visibly angry and upset, and demanded to be heard. By then, two hours had gone by and the meeting's end was announced. The audience began to shout for an extension of the meeting so that they could voice their concerns and, further, so that their statements would go on the official record. Both Mr. Miller and Mr. Keefer insisted that their recorder had no more time. Despite the recorder's own insistence that she had at least 45 minutes to an hour of time left.

Mr. James Miller stood up from his seat and demanded to be allowed to speak as he tried to tell the EPA that residents do not want to live in contaminated homes and want permanent relocation. Mr. Miller also tried to demand indoor test of all the schools within a two miles radius of the site. Suddenly, two police officers materialized, threatening to remove and arrest Mr. Miller. No one else at this meeting who stood up and shouted, demanded to be heard or even rushed to the front to speak was threatened by the police. Oh! they weren't African American like Mr. Miller! Marginalized residents were shocked and appalled that this was how EPA's Region 4's; a "Federal Agency" representatives conducted themselves. As EPA Region 4 continued to insist that the meeting was over, more people voiced their outrage and demanded to be heard.

Ms. Sandra Watts Kennedy, SFNA, Inc. President, rushed to the front and began to plead with the EPA panel for speaking time for the immediately affected residents. Ms. Spencer and Mr. Miller responded that the meeting was over. Ms. Watts Kennedy began to speak anyway, but soon became overwhelmed with distress brought on by the EPA's cavalier gagging of her attempt to give voice to the frightened, the sick, the dead and the bereaved in the neighborhood. The crowd shouted to let her speak. Ms. Spencer refused to give her the microphone and Mr. Scott Miller insisted that the meeting was over and the recorded had no time or paper.

Ms. Watts Kennedy tried to remind the panel of the EPA's own mission statement and to speak of the many cancers, illnesses, deaths, birth defects, still births and miscarriages and the fact that in-home testing indicates alarmingly high levels of dioxin in homes within a two-mile radius of the Koppers site. She became visibly overcome with emotion, unable to breath, nearly passing out. Fellow residents helped her outside to recover.

This incident resulted in more shouting and even more pressure from the public for additional speaking time. Only then did Mr. Miller and Mr. Keefer relent, but by then more than threequarters of the residents had gone, including members of SFNA, Inc., having left in disgust!

This was the most appalling display of blatant, deliberate marginalization and disenfranchisement that the most affected citizens were forced to endure by Mr. Scott Miller, Mr. David Keefer and Ms. LaTonya Spencer at the August 5th, 2010 so-called "Community Involvement Meeting". Is this how EPA Region 4 implements President Obama's Administration and Ms. Lisa Jackson's call for transparency and environmental justice? Is this behavior condone by Region 4?

Mr. David Keefer's statement to the Gainesville Sun shortly after the August 5th's meeting illustrated just how well the whole fiasco was orchestrated! As featured in the Sun on August 5th, David Keefer, the chief of the Superfund Remedial Branch in the agency's Southern region stated "while the Koppers response has been large, the passion hasn't been extraordinary". How could a response be passionate if the EPA deliberately and blatantly refuses to let the most passionate and truly suffering members of the community speak! Mr. Keefer, Mr. Miller and Ms Spencer have made sure we do not have a voice and therefore: our comments, passion and demands are not to be found on the records. The EPA Region 4 staff has deliberately marginalized, disenfranchised, and systematically has made sure we do not have a voice allowing mostly only members of the TAG Grant Group, Protect Gainesville's Citizens (PGC) and affiliates to control and manipulate the meetings and comments time whom founders and most affiliates do not leave in the immediately affected area. Therefore, these so-called Community Involvement meetings are worthless to us the real, most affected residents.

We thought this only happened in third world countries. We were wrong. It appears that we are no different here in the USA. The lack of recognition and disregard for our Civil Rights and our humanity has been an ongoing problem. So we need you to know that we have informed Mr. Miller, Ms. Spencer and E2 many times at public meetings that no organization or individuals

have our permission to speak, negotiate, act as a liaison, interpret any information or make any recommendations or negotiate on our behalf and that we represent ourselves. We have been told by one or the other each time that they were not aware of our existence and been asked to provide our contact information, which we have done repeatedly. We have provided your Region 4 staff with numerous opportunities to rectify the problem.

Our on-going testimony to the pain, daily stress and suffering of area residents due to cancers, other illnesses and deaths are ignored and disregarded by Mr. Scott Miller. He habitually looks away, talks and even laughs while resident are making statements. In fact, while speaking at the August 5th, meeting, Ms. Susan Fairforest had to stop in mid-sentence and forcefully ask Mr Scott Miller to please pay attention and to look at her while she spoke to him! At an earlier meeting this past July, Mr. Miller lost his temper and yelled at the assembled citizenry for simply asking questions that apparently he didn't want to answer.

2. Mr. Miller is locally infamous for ignoring questions from the immediately affected residents.

After this latest travesty we are left with no other choice but to request your immediate intervention. We ask that you hold your staff accountable for their actions and the total disrespect that they show over and over again. We ask that Region 4 upholds the agency's mandate for environmental justice.

3. Mr. Scott Miller has gone as far as to recently telephone Ms. Claire Horton to more-or-less let her know that he knew who she was calling and what she was up to. Could this be considered intimidation? Ms. Horton certainly thought it was. Ms. Horton mentioned the incident at the City of Gainesville Cabot-Koppers special commission meeting on September 27, 2010.

4. At a recent September Gainesville City Commission meeting, Dr. Patricia Cline complained of Mr. Scott Miller's refusal to make over 200 public documents, that are missing from the feasibility study, available for public review. He told her that she needed to make her request

under the Freedom of Information Act. Is this how Region 4 implements President Obama's new directive and call for transparency and environmental justice as stated by Ms. Lisa Jackson in the national media?

5. We have suffered long enough. Too many have died and many are sick. The rest of us wait, slowly dying inside highly dioxin contaminated homes at an average of over 400 ppt for Region 4 to permanently relocate us out of harms' way. So we wait for an agency that was established for the "protection of human health and the environment" to do the right thing and permanently relocate us?

So, given these facts and the EPA's Mission and Purpose Statements, one would think that Region 4 EPA would immediately take action especially after extremely highly toxic dioxins levels have been found inside our homes. We are not being protected by the EPA where we live learn or work. Region 4 EPA need to do a much better job! Show us the real Mission we want our way over due environmental justice now enough is enough! and fulfill the purpose of this Agency.

Therefore, we keep asking Region 4 how many more must die before this agency does the right thing? Who is in charge at Region 4? Who will hold staff accountable? The behavior of Region 4 staff is disgusting, embarrassing and unacceptable to those of us that where forced to endure this abuse at the August 5th meeting, the on-going refusal to provide public documents, the suppression of reports showing the real cancer risk to the residents and others by University of Florida Center for Human Toxicology that are vital to the community health and welfare and not informing residents of actual contamination of their potable wells.

6. Then there was the Oct. 29, 2010 side-deal made by FDEP and Beazer, allowing them to excavate on the Cabot-Koppers Superfund site and thereby leaving Alachua County's own Environmental Protection Department out-of-the-loop, with no monitoring or air or water permits in place. Is this how EPA Region 4 implements President Obama's and EPA Director, Lisa Jackson's, new mandate and directive for transparency and environmental justice? Does the President's administration condone EPA Region 4 tactics of bulling, intimidation, disenfranchisement and flat-out ignoring of the citizens most affected; those who now live inside dioxin-contaminated homes nearest the Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site? This on-going marginalization and disenfranchisement is the reason why we totally distrust Region 4 EPA. Mr. Miller and Region 4 once again blatantly disregard EPA's mandate by allowing Beazer to excavate the site with no notice to any one specially Alachua EPD, nor air or water permits in place. Once again residents health and safety were not a priority for Region 4 only the rush to aid and abed Beazer in this unacceptable massive cover up. The protection of human health and the environment does not matter to Region 4 and this office has unequivocally continue to make this very clear to us by their actions. This office promises are worthless to us, we do not trust Region 4 we need accountability.

What started on October 29, 2010 was no surprise to resident but never the less still very upsetting stressful and made us even more angry adding to our distrust of Region 4. on Friday Oct. 29 excavation on the site turn our neighborhood into a toxic dust bowl, dust blowing all over the city and into our homes day and night until the residents could not take the dust storms any more and on Tuesday the 2nd of November resident began to call their neighborhood organizations representatives, the Alachua EPD, and FDEP and demanded an immediate stop to this massive additional contamination of our homes and neighborhoods.

Everything in the neighborhood was covered in this carcinogenic, highly toxic, dioxin, arsenic, and other chemically-polluted dust. Some residents described it by stating that there was so much dust that it was like a fog. Many complained of coughing, much shortness of breath and grainy eyes. Our complaints, as usual, have been ignored. We were informed that the above mentioned side-deal between the FDEP and Beazer, was done for our protection. How ridiculous! We have had enough of this nonsense!

EPA Region 4 has become a big joke to our community. How much more begging and how many more years before EPA will take care of us? HELLO! CAN ANY ONE HEAR US? Our tax dollars are paying for the EPA to keep us in contaminated homes, destroying our families, health, homes, and our lives while it protects Beazer Corporation's bottom line. So it is time to step up and correct the injustice, civil and human rights violations. Gainesville desperately needs your help. We are counting on you and President Obama's administration to finally deliver to us a real cleanup and not a massive cover up. We want permanent relocation away from toxic harm. We do not want a super "Mount Dioxin", nor a central toxic waste dump here in Gainesville. We do not want to be still further contaminated by Remox or Chemox. So, please, properly clean up our city by digging up ALL of the pollutants and haul them away to an appropriate place where this pollution can be properly rendered harmless to humans and animals. We sincerely hope that you also find that the above mentioned behavior is not acceptable and is not representative of a Federal Agency such as the EPA; that you will restore our hope and faith in our federal administration's mandate and directive and so finally deliver to us our muchdeserved environmental justice. Please help to permanently relocate our families and children out of harms' way. We desperately need your help and personal attention in this matter because we are dying here! We hope that you will hear our cry for help because you are our last hope. All other administrations before have failed us.

Sincerely,

Maria Parsons

Stephen Foster Neighborhood Protection Group

Gainesville, Florida

[email protected] (352) 682-1878

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_filter=0&suggested_categories=10%2C29%2C22&search_query=stephen+foster+neighborhood

http://www.youtube.com/user/EPAsToxicTravesty

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4egt7kg-ces

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMQLXJrJlUI

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJhoLlVL9YA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DPA9Es6rW8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Adl0Wx-RrFI

 

 

 

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