In Ulster, NY, as a result of, failed improvements, asbestos contamination, and $12,000,000 million in unpaid taxes over the last decade, Patrick Ryan, Ulster County Executive, announced that the former Tech City Bank of America building, in the town of Ulster, NY will be cleaned up and demolished, under the direction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Asbestos abatement inside the building and contaminated debris piled up from a past demolition project on the property, also subjecting the surrounding area to be exposed to airborne asbestos.
Mesothelioma Cancer Caused Exclusively By Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos is a group of silicate mineral fibers found inside the earth. For years, these fibers were mined and then used in over 3,000 products across the globe. In the middle of the twentieth century, studies piled up accounts of the harm that airborne asbestos exposure had on humans. Asbestos inhaled or swallowed can cause lung disease, lung cancer, and mesothelioma cancer.
Ulster, NY Tech City Declared EPA Superfund-Site
The Ulster, NY, the site was declared an EPA Superfund-Site, in December of 2019. At that time, written correspondence was sent to the majority owner and other stakeholders. The letter from the EPA explained the potential liability risk the site held for the owners or the public’s health and environmental problems that need to be addressed to resolve the site’s threat to the public’s health and the environment.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund Sites
EPA, contaminated sites, or otherwise known as Superfund sites, are enforced under the authority of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). These sites are decided upon in order of health and environmental importance by EPA taskforce administrators and regional directors. The Superfund enforcement program is designed to expedite the cleaning of priority sites established by the EPA.
The Superfund enforcement initiative gets contaminated areas or sites cleaned up by locating the responsible parties and negotiating with them to do the cleanup. If the party cannot perform the cleanup or organize someone else to remediate the environmental work necessary to become compliant, then the EPA can step in and issue an order to do a particular task. Besides, if the party responsible does not comply with working with or doing the work at the site, the EPA can pursue the responsible party with the Department of Justice (DOJ) or take action in the federal court system.
After Two Months The Owners Did Not Respond
After two months, no response was received from the majority owner and developer, Alan Ginsberg. Going forward, EPA Region 2 Administrator Peter Lopez said by phone, “that the EPA will move forward with the initial remediation and continue to pursue the five responsible parties to make more permanent solutions.” In another statement, Patrick Ryan, Ulster County Executive, said, “Ultimately, Alan Ginsberg has held Ulster County hostage for over a decade, and that is going to stop,” Ryan said. “He has made clear he doesn’t care about our community, he doesn’t care about taxpayers, he doesn’t care about our environment, and we just will not tolerate that.”
Communities With The Help Of The EPA Can Take Action
These stories are not just happening in one area of the country, but all over the nation. The good news is that these areas smitten with abandonment or neglect do not always have to be this way. Especially, if an area is contaminated, there are actions communities or states can take to help clean an area up to revitalize, reuse, or redevelop for the greater good. In other words, there are environmental programs available, and steps that can be taken to bring an area back to life or a safer state.
Moving forward, the EPA will manage the cleanup of the project. The work is estimated to cost about $500,000, to begin with, the environmental cleanup. The asbestos abatement and remediation work should take eight to twelve weeks to complete, according to authorities. For years, the New York community was exposed to the debris piles, and all of the other contaminants the property holds. Since the Superfund enforcement process was initiated, the green-light seemed to have made more room for the community to go forward with remediating this not only environmental but public safety health risk.
Do Not Discard Potential Past Exposure To Asbestos Or Chemicals
Abandoned buildings and vacant property contaminated with asbestos or chemicals is a danger to the environment and the public. These places need to be avoided but also do not need just to be left alone without communities or authorities voicing their concern over the conditions that can develop from their dormancy.
As time goes on, items such as asbestos, buildings, and chemical residue from abandoned factories or plants will deteriorate or leak from their original form. In general, asbestos is not harmful until the fibers are disturbed. When the fibers or particles are broken apart, they can become airborne and harm anyone who comes into contact with that specific site or surrounding environment.
Mesothelioma Caused By Asbestos Exposure Can Take Years To Develop
Once the asbestos fibers or particles enter the body, the particulates will settle in the lining of the lungs or abdomen. Over time, the particles will buildup and lay dormant and develop into mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma cancer is caused exclusively by asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma has a long development stage that can take as long as 20-40 years to appear.
Remember, if you or a loved one may be experiencing the effects of mesothelioma or lung disease from the result of asbestos exposure, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced asbestos or mesothelioma attorney.