Arco Appeals Toxic Dump -EPA ruling

Submitted by lmcshane on Tue, 02/14/2017 - 10:46.
03/01/2017 - 09:41

Here's a Noble Road illegal dump update. No arrests ... yet. Arco has appealed. The pre-hearing is scheduled for March 1, 2017 at 10 a.m. in Columbus. Arco is alleging that Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler didn't have the legal authority to close the dump and that his clean-up time is unreasonable. He gave them two weeks. The woman in the picture is Christina Beynon, the current Arco dump owner.

I wrote the letter below as an email to Julie Slane, who's the executive secretary for the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission. 77 South High Street, 17th Floor Columbus, Ohio 43215 (614) 466-8950

The reason for the letter is simple. Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler's got one perspective. He's covering his ass whether his handling of the closing was legal or not. He's not going to present the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission with a copy of Jim Riffle's report. They may never even know of its existence because he has no interest in validating it.

So aside from Butler protecting his own interests, because he damn sure didn't protect the interests of East Cleveland, Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, South Euclid and Euclid residents, the board has to know residents see themselves as a party of interest in the appellate decision. So to Ruth Gray who's on council in South Euclid, and to the members of Cleveland Heights and Euclid city councils, Stephana Childs Caviness, I'm encouraging you to push your law departments to make your cities parties to this action. I would encourage the members of Cleveland city council to follow suit, but Cleveland is one of the offending parties. Cleveland city council has a committee that oversees the Division of Air Pollution Control that's under Mayor Frank Jackson's supervision. Jeffrey Johnson serves on the council committee that should be reviewing licensing applications and inspection reports because it's Cleveland's duty to protect the county's air quality.

Don't forget our communitywide meeting this Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 10 a.m. 15837 Euclid Avenue. The Empowerment Church president over by Rev. Anthony L Mattox Jr. Environmental hygienist Jim Riffle will be in attendance to answer questions. All affected residents are welcomed.

My letter to the appeals commission is below. You cannot relent if you want to win a war. Use every opportunity to push your position. We've got to now keep the dump closed and get it cleaned. It ain't over 'til it's over.

FROM BREWER TO SLANE: Please provide me with a copy of the Arco appeal filed in Case No. 17-6906 pursuant to Ohio's open government act, R.C. 149.43.

I am meeting on Tuesday, February 14, with a group of residents who live with the Arco dump site directly in their backyards. More than 100,000 residents in a densely populated urban neighborhood where the dump exists have been affected by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, glass particles, asbestos, hydrogen sulfide gas, acid rain and more. It exists not more than 1000 feet from a high school and about 500 feet from the high school's stadium. An elementary school is less than 500 feet away from this toxic death site. A woman who lives with the dump in her back yard died last year of a sudden lung cancer. The reports I'm getting from residents being stricken with cancers and other mysterious ailments are alarming.

I have attached a copy of a highly-respected independent environmental hygienist's report of the toxins he collected from homes with the dump in their backyard and sent to a lab for testing. This report has been shared with Craig Butler at the Ohio EPA and Richard Hodges at the Ohio Department of Health. It identifies the toxins I've shared above and more that are found at the site. The residents want it included in the record for the appeals board to review.

The residents are alleging that both the Ohio EPA and Cleveland's Division of Air Pollution Control were negligent in allowing the Arco site to be licensed. It was originally claimed that the Arco site would operate as a recycling facility. There was never an attempt on the part of Arco's owners to separate and recycle the construction and demolition debris despite their false assertion to the Ohio EPA that it was their intent. Evidence of a 4 to 5 story pile of co-mingled construction and demolition debris with household waste and radioactive materials shows they always intended to operate a landfill in a neighborhood. This is confirmed in the Ohio EPA and Cleveland Division of Air Pollution Control's 27 inspection visits. "Fugitive dust" was identified at the Arco illegal dump. Negligent Ohio EPA and Cleveland Division of Air Pollution Control officials failed to have the "fugitive dust" tested. We did.

I have provided you also with a copy of the only ordinance East Cleveland city council enacted relative to the Arco illegal dump. Ord. No. 11-14 authorized the mayor only to transfer the property to Arco's owners to prepare it for redevelopment. The land was purchased from the city's landbank. The city's landbank ordinance includes a two year reversionary clause that if the property is not used in the manner specified by the ordinance it reverts back to the city.

The city council did not authorize its former mayor to "release" the Arco owners from the reversionary clause or to operate a recycling facility. The Ohio EPA and Cleveland Air Pollution Control officials issued the license without first consulting with the city's ordinances to even learn how the land was authorizd to be used. All of the governing authorities violated federal "Right to Know" laws regarding the deadly toxins the site was emitting. There is no ordinance that authorized another use for the landbank land, or to be rezoned from a manufacturing and industrial site to a landfill.

Residents further allege that Ohio EPA official were not truthful to a member of Congress, U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge, when she asked for testing. She was lied to be Ohio EPA director Butler, who claimed that no asbestos was found at the site. U.S. Rep. Fudge asked him to test further, which he did not do.

The residents in this case believe they are party of interest in the proceedings and seek to have their voices and complaints heard. They have independently obtained credible evidence of the deadly toxins coming from the Arco illegal dump site. They have recalled the mayor and former council president who rigged the government to allow the illegal Arco dump to operate. Some are now beginning to secure legal counsel to file claims against Arco and the state. Some are seeking medical attention. There is a campaign underway to inform more than 100,000 affected residents of the site's contaminants. At least one city council, Cleveland Heights, has expressed an interest in pursuing its legal remedies against Arco and the state. I'm certain your agency will hear from elected official in Cleveland Heights, South Euclid, Euclid and East Cleveland who want the illegal dump removed as soon as humanly possible.

I'm aware that there is a pre-trial hearing scheduled for March 1. Some of the residents have expressed an interest in attending.

I'm confident that the residents want it known that they are parties of interest in this proceeding and will file any brief necessary to have their voices heard in the discussion. While the Ohio EPA's own negligence, along with that of Cleveland's mayor and council, contributed to the illegal dump's existence, they support the Ohio EPA's decision for it to be permanently closed and immediately cleaned.

Eric Jonathan Brewer
Former Mayor / City of East Cleveland

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