NEW YORK, NY and YONKERS, NY – June 23, 2014 — Industrial facilities dumped 5,303,190 pounds of toxic chemicals into New York’s waterways in 2012 making New York’s waterways the 15th worst in the nation, according to a new report by Environment New York Research & Policy Center.
“New York’s waterways should be clean — for swimming, drinking, and supporting wildlife,” said Heather Leibowitz, the Director of Environment New York. “But too often, our waters have become a dumping ground for polluters. The first step to curb this tide of toxic pollution is to restore Clean Water Act protections to all our waterways.”
Environment New York Research & Policy Center’s report on toxic pollutants discharged into America’s waters is based on data reported by polluting facilities to the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory for 2012, the most recent data available. She gave her presentation last week at the Yonkers waterfront.
Major findings of the report include:
- 5,303,190 total pounds of toxic chemicals were dumped into all of New York’s waterways.
- Industrial facilities discharged approximately 16,868 pounds of chemicals linked to cancer, 1,873 pounds of chemicals linked to developmental disorders, and 21,676 pounds of chemicals linked to reproductive problems into New York waterways.
Environment New York Research & Policy Center report summarizes discharges of cancer-causing chemicals, chemicals that persist in the environment, and chemicals with the potential to cause reproductive problems ranging from birth defects to infertility. The toxic chemicals dumped in New York include antimony and antimony compounds, which cause cancer, and developmental toxins, such as lead and lead compounds, which can cause cancer as well as affect the way children grow, learn, and behave.
Environment New York Research & Policy Center uncovered that IBM Corp. has dumped 987,302 pounds of nitrate compounds into the Wiccopee Creek in Hopewell Junction. Nitrate compounds can cause serious health problems in infants if found in drinking water and contribute to oxygen-depleted ‘dead zones’ in waterways.
“The data clearly shows that a range of pollutants, including some of the very toxic chemicals are released in significant amounts in the Hudson River system by few specific companies,” said Hari K. Pant, the director of the Environmental Studies Department at Lehman College. “These pollutants are not only harmful to human but also to aquatic life. These companies must do more to cease releasing these pollutants into the river so that one of the most important river systems in the country is protected for both people and aquatic life. Putting the emphasis on the urgency for responsible practices by the individual companies involved is paramount. We must thank ‘Environment New York’ for bringing this issue to the public.”
The report recommends several steps to curb this tide of toxic pollution – including requiring industry to switch from toxic chemicals to safer alternatives. But Environment New York Research & Policy Center is highlighting one part of the solution that could actually become law this year: Restoring the Clean Water Act protections to all New York’s wate
As a result of court cases brought by polluters, 5,2337 miles of streams in New York and 11,146,815 million New Yorkers drinking water are now at risk of having no protection from pollution under the federal Clean Water Act. Following years of advocacy by Environment Research & Policy Center and its allies, this spring, the EPA finally proposed a rule to close the loopholes that have left New York’s waterways at risk and restore Clean Water Act protections.
But the clean water rule is being vigorously opposed by a wide range of polluting industries outside New York – from the oil and gas industry to corporate agribusiness.
“Looking at the data from our report today, you can see why polluters might oppose it,” said Leibowitz. “That’s why we are working with farmers, small businesses, and thousands of ordinary New Yorkers to make sure our voices for clean water are heard in Washington, D.C. The future of the Hudson River hangs in the balance.”
The public comment period on the clean water rule began the day before Earth Day, and it is still open right now.
“New York’s waterways shouldn’t be a polluter’s dumping ground,” said Leibowitz. “If we want the Hudson River to be clean for future generations of New Yorkers, we must restore Clean Water Act protections to all of our waterways, and we must do it now.”
Environment New York is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization. Their professional staff combines independent research, practical ideas, and tough-minded advocacy to overcome the opposition of powerful special interests to win real results for New York’s environment. As part of Environment America, they engage in protecting o air, water, and open spaces in New York, in state capitals across the country, and in Washington, D.C.
Environment New York, 28 W 39th St. 2nd Fl., New York, NY 10018. Lear more at EnvironmentNewYork.org, or call: (646) 473-0905.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ms. Leibowitz will be heard on the Westchester On the Level with Narog and Aris program on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 @ 11:00 a.m. http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com/WestchesterOnTheLevel/