Buffalo News: Paul Napoli Interview on Wheatfield Notice
February 1, 2017 | Environmental Litigation
There’s a whole host of symptoms and less severe injuries, similar to what we’ve seen in other toxic cases,” said Napoli Shkolnik attorney, Paul Napoli. Those symptoms, he said, include respiratory complaints, headaches and nervous system disorders.
According to the Town Clerk Kathleen M. Harrington-McDonell, 16 notice of claims have been filed against the Town. More will most likely follow said Christen E. Civiletto, another attorney working on the case.
The notices of claims are in the amount of $60 million in damages each, for a total of close to $1 billion so far. The notices outline that residents had paid for private soil testing and that the tests confirmed the presence of chemicals, including ‘Love Canal waste constituents that migrated onto their properties.”
“All these chemicals that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) knows are present at the site are chemicals that government agencies universally agree cause cancer,” Napoli said.
He charged that Wheatfield “is doing absolutely nothing about it.”
In 1968, the state Department of Transportation moved some toxic waste to the Wheatfield site from the Love Canal landfill, which the DOT had disturbed while constructing the LaSalle Expressway in Niagara Falls.
The DEC ordered Glenn Springs Holdings, a subsidiary of Occidental Chemical Co., to remove the Love Canal waste from the site. About 60 truckloads were hauled away in 2014 and 2015.
After that work was done, the DEC, which had listed Niagara Sanitation as an inactive hazardous waste site of no danger to the general public, changed the classification in December 2015, rating it a significant threat to public health. The reclassification was explained at the time as a legal necessity to allow the state to invoke the Superfund law to clean up the site and send the bill to the companies that dumped waste there before 1968.
“All these chemicals that the DEC knows are present at the site are chemicals that government agencies universally agree cause cancer,” Napoli said. He charged that Wheatfield “is doing absolutely nothing about it.”
There has never been any security fence around the landfill, Cliffe said, except for the temporary one Glenn Springs put up around the excavation area for the Love Canal waste. Cliffe said the site has a clay cap of varying thickness.
Residents have told the Town Board at numerous meetings that the landfill is frequently disturbed by all-terrain vehicles whose drivers use the site for off-road riding, and often track the mud onto adjoining roads.
“When Glenn Springs left, we put 12 no-trespassing signs up. They were gone within a week,” Cliffe said.
He said 12 more were posted, and most were removed. Another 12 signs were put up Monday.
Last February, State Sen. Robert G. Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, announced he had lined up $75,000 in state money toward the cost of a fence around the site. The town applied to the state Dormitory Authority to get the money, but it hasn’t come yet, Cliffe said.
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