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Source: YNN Syracuse

Public meeting on GM cleanup


Posted: December 16, 2010
Originally Published: December 16, 2010

All public comments are now under consideration as Onondaga County leaders and community members take one last chance to speak out against a proposed agreement requiring General Motors to clean up polluted properties in the area. GM's settlement agreement dedicated more than $30million to clean up the former Inland Fisher Guide plant and some surrounding areas. But as our Kat De Maria tells us, people who spoke at the public hearing say the agreement doesn't cover the whole job.

SALINA, N.Y. -- When General Motors filed for bankruptcy last year, more than the fate of the carmaker and its workers became uncertain. In the Town of Salina, it became unclear what would happen to properties on, around and downstream of the former Inland Fisher Guide plant, which GM was supposed to clean up.

In October, things were clarified by a settlement agreement, or so people in Onondaga County thought.

"It was obviously positive that there were resources in there to finish the clean-up of the IFG site as well as Upper Ley Creek but clearly that's only half the job," said the county's Matt Millea.

As Onondaga County leaders and others explained at a public hearing Wednesday, the proposed agreement left out Lower Ley Creek and Onondaga Lake.

"We want to make sure the court understands the full view that water runs downstream, as does that pollution, and feeds into Onondaga Lake," said Dereth Glance/Citizens Campaign for the Environment

Also left out of the agreement: the Salina Landfill.

"They remediated that GM facility years ago. They're just putting more money in to duplicate things that have already been done. Why not extend that boundary, utilize that money that's going to be there no matter what to assist in cleaning up the landfill," said Mark Nicotra, Salina Town Supervisor

Salina's supervisor says if GM doesn't clean up the landfill, the taxpayers will have to. Leaders say the government could demand the same of Onondaga County taxpayers for Ley Creek--and soon--before dredging starts on the lake.

"Ley Creek also has to be cleaned up so we don't continue to introduce PCBs into Onondaga Lake once we've made great strides through the Honeywell clean up," Millea said.

"We've already bailed out GM. So how many times over are we going to have to pay for this pollution that they made a profit from" Glance said.

People in Onondaga County say they're hopeful their comments clear up things for the government, and that, bankruptcy or not, General Motors is held accountable for all of its responsibilities in Onondaga County.