Elected officials and activists gathered in South Brooklyn this morning to draw attention to a recent environmental disaster. Last week, 27,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Gravesend Bay – and nobody was notified about it. Sushmita Pathak reports.
Pathak: Have you heard anything about the oil spill?
Liu: Oil spill? It’s the first time I’ve heard of it. I didn’t even know.
And that’s what other shoppers say too. Until half an hour later when Michael Silverman arrives. He’s president of the Warbasse Houses, a nearby housing cooperative.
We didn’t hear about it. We didn’t hear from the parties, the departments that are supposed to tell us about it.
Silverman says he heard about the spill, eventually, from local activists on a blog. And now he’s here for a press conference hosted by councilman Mark Treyger who’s here along with other elected officials and concerned residents to demand some answers.
What happened here? How will it never happen again? How will the bad actors be held responsible? What remediation efforts are under way?
What’s more, Silverman says, this isn’t the first time the Department of Environmental Conservation has failed to notify officials or the public about an environmental hazard.
A few months ago, DEC came down to a meeting where they acknowledged that they failed to notify us about 200,000 gallons of raw, untreated sewage being dumped into coney island creek on a daily basis.
The DEC is holding a Bensonhurst-based company Bayside Fuel Oil Depot Corporation accountable for the spill. The company confirmed the spill but challenged its extent. It also said it wasn’t its responsibility to report the spill to politicians or the public. At the press conference, city comptroller Scott Stringer says, over the past five decades, the company has had seven oil spills. And he says, other companies have had spills too.
I am asking my audit investigation unit to commence a top to bottom review of procedures as it relates to communication, as it relates to cleanup, as it relates to holding these oil companies accountable.
The oil from the spill has been cleaned up but residents are waiting to see how bad investigators say the damage is. Sushmita Pathak, Columbia Radio News.