Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Is monitoring dump site removal a "burden?"

A puzzling statement about the excavation of the former municipal dump, in preparation for a relocated rail yard, is contained in a letter now appearing on The Rail Road Action and Advisory Committee’s web page. Addressed to the Manheim Twp. Commissioners and signed by Bill Cluck, TRRAAC’s attorney, this statement is:

"We recognize it would be a burden on the township to monitor site activities, but perhaps a reporting mechanism can be discussed with the contractor to keep the township and the public informed of activities on site."

Why on earth would it be a "burden" to township officials to "monitor site activities"? Even if it is, shouldn’t that be a responsibility of township officials, particularly considering that asbestos products have been proven to be buried in this dump in unknown quantities?

Also, why would TRRAAC rely on the accuracy of the reports written by the Project Partners of F&M and LGH, when TRRAAC has documented evidence of these same Project Partners making misleading and inaccurate statements on application forms for state and federal grant money?

Just one example of a totally inaccurate statement was contained in an application submitted to the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). This statement represented that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) had already "awarded" $1 million for the clean-up of the dump, a statement that DEP said was untrue.

Other evidence of improper and unsubstantiated statements by the Project Partners is contained in newsletters published on the TRRAAC website. These newsletters include "Analysis of PennDot's Funding $700,000 for F&M's Engineers", dated Mar. 4; "Follow the Money" dated Jan 23; "Your taxes are paying for John Fry’s Vision", dated Feb. 1.

Why didn't TRRAAC’s attorney tell the Manheim Twp. Commissioners that they should notify the "Project Partners" that township officials and members of TRRAAC would be conducting frequent and unannounced spot checks to ascertain that all of the mandated safety procedures for the removal of asbestos products are being followed? These procedures are detailed in the Project Partners’ published document, "Site Health and Safety Plan."

The Project Partners would then be less likely to attempt to save money by ignoring safety procedures that they had agreed to before beginning the excavation.