As a leopard does not change its spots, the United States Navy, true to form, is not veering from its original position. Its position is one steeped in a stew of procrastination. In my blog of August 17, 2009, I had said where I believed this matter was headed. I was not wrong. Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, had pledged to do whatever it takes to clean up the toxic plume in the Peconic River. Yet, at a November 5th meeting between community members on the Navy's Restoration Advisory Board and the Navy's remedial cleanup project team, procrastination, at the Navy's behest, continued. Advisory board members had requested that the Navy install a "pump-and-treat system" in the midst of the extensive toxic plume, which is polluting the Peconic River. However, the Navy's remedial project manager, Lora Fly, who oversees the so-called federal cleanup, denied the Board's temporary measure as the Navy continues to drag its feet. Be reminded that tests of wells in the area conducted by the Navy and the county health department have found concentrations of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) 200 times higher than the state's allowable drinking water standards.
One member of the Restoration Advisory Board, Bob Conklin, a retired biology teacher, had said: "We've been concerned for years about what's going into the Peconic River. We're not seeing anything concrete and positive toward mitigating the situation. I can't see how putting in one well is going to hurt or cost you a lot of money. We're not asking for a major cleanup [at this point]. Just show something positive . . . instead of talking about it. You get tired of this after a while."
In sum and substance, Lora Fly responded with: "We have to look at what technology is out there and what is the best way to handle this. Until we have a full understanding of what's out there, we can't just go ahead and throw in a treatment system."
Conklin bristled at Lora Fly's dilatory comments. He countered by succinctly concluding: "This could take years and years, and then more years." And Bob Conklin is oh, so correct. The Navy's continued procrastination is altogether evident as it has been well aware of the situation for at least a decade.
Reporting on the health department's latest findings, geologist Andrew Rapiejko stated: "We've identified, in this sampling round, two distinct discharge points . . . . it is getting into the river. It is [the plume] discharging."
The Navy is criminally responsible for the toxic pollution flowing from the former Grumman property in Calverton, New York, into the Peconic River. The Navy persists in giving us rhetoric instead of remedies. As a leopard does not change its spots, the United States Navy is not even bothering to camouflage theirs. I would have to say that the folks here in the Riverhead area of Long Island are in a proverbial stew of procrastination.
Causes Robert Banfelder Supports
Breast Cancer Research Foundation