LETTERS TO THE NYACK VILLAGE
WHAT’S KILLING THE FISH?
To The Nyack Villager—
On Sunday, June 14, 2015 at around 9:30am, my boyfriend and I walked the Piermont Pier. On our way back we walked along the condos and we were extremely alarmed to see a line of dead fish, well over 20 of them belly up—all along the river from end to end. Every 5 to 10 feet there was another one floating there —a spaced out line of bobbing dead fish. It was very disconcerting. Then we read something similar happened along the Nyack waterfront last month. Is it the bridge construction, something being sprayed or dumped? It was a disturbing sight, and people who fish along the pier also have a right to know. Thank you,
[Editor’s note—The Nyack Villager intends to stay on this story until we get some answers. Jeanette Dailey, of our staff, took some photographs including the one below.
She also made some inquiries. Neale Gulley, of Riverkeeper sent her this:
“Dear Jeanette: We don’t have confirmation on what’s been causing the hundreds or even thousands of fish (mostly bunker but also channel catfish and bass) and some sturgeon to die. But we have received and forwarded many such reports to DEC fisheries each day for roughly the past three to four weeks.
We’ve been in touch with DEC and understand that some of the fish were sent to Cornell’s lab to undergo necropsy to determine the cause of death. We have not yet received word on their findings.”
John Lipscomb, Riverkeeper Boat Captain wrote this:
“We’ve been getting 2 or 3 reports a day for a couple weeks now—dead fish from Peekskill south to NY Harbor and LI Sound. We (among others) alerted DEC biologists of the issue and they have collected several fish which are being analyzed by a fish lab at Cornell/Ithaca. No results yet. The fish are mostly Bunker (Menhaden) but some other species are also dying. Very upsetting. When we hear from DEC we’ll post the information on our website.
It’s important to note that this is a regional problem, not a local one. As I’m sure you know, there have been several reports of fish kills in other nearby areas, including the Peconic River, Long Island Sound, the Connecticut River and the Quinnipiac River.”]
Planning for the NEW 120-UNIT LUXURY CONDO
To The Nyack Villager—
A large crowd of village residents showed up at the Nyack Village Planning Board meeting of June 1 to hear TZ Vista, LLC present their proposal to build 120 units of luxury condominiums on the waterfront property they now own between the Nyack Boat Club and the Clermont Condominiums.
According to the March 2011 Declaration of Statement and Record of Decision on public record for the required clean-up of coal tar contamination on the site, section 7a and 7b state that any structures built will have to be monitored for vapor intrusion, since the coal tar, which is the consistency of motor oil and has seeped down to the bedrock and into groundwater at the site (not connected to our public drinking water). Part of the coal tar is currently capped with two feet of soil and asphalt. Some of it is buried under a barrier of “solidified soil.” Site contamination was not mentioned at the PB meeting. It is an issue between the developers and whoever chooses to buy their luxury condos. There is nothing residents can do about the conditions of the site which go back over a century and which, hopefully have greatly improved by now.
The issue that affects Nyack residents is the changing of laws currently in place. After the construction of Clermont destroyed the river view from Nyack’s Main Street (by some of the same people now proposing this new development), laws were created to protect the waterfront from future construction of the same type. According to the regulations, the view corridor along streets running towards the river must not be blocked. New buildings along the waterfront are limited to four stories.
Public access must be provided along the shore (should anyone care to walk there). TZ Vista purchased the property knowing these laws existed. However, TZ Vista wants the Village Board to change the law so that they can build ultra-modern structures to a height of six stories which will rise above existing rooftops and intrude upon the view along High and Lydecker streets. At the PB meeting they explained that this was necessary in order to make their venture more profitable.
Residents need to know that before any changes to the law can be made by the VB there will have to be a public hearing. Nyack residents have time to get informed about this issue. If this proposed development advances to the public hearing stage, residents will have a chance to be heard. 120 units will bring in new taxes, but will put additional demands on services such as water, sewage treatment, and schools.
—Cherie Raglan, Nyack
TAKING ISSUE WITH THE SUPERVISOR
To The Nyack Villager—
Dear Mr. Stewart: I read with disappointment your commentary in the June 2015 Nyack Villager on the Anellotech facility in Pearl River.
Before going further, I want to make clear that I have no connection whatsoever with the Anellotech initiative. I speak solely from the perspective of a degreed chemical engineer who managed a large environmental engineering company for twelve years.
Your commentary reflects a lack of familiarity with the fundamental terminology and risks associated with chemicals. To begin, the established terminology associated with chemical materials that present a public health risk is hazardous chemicals, not “toxic” chemicals. Any reading of the federal and State environmental regulations will find no reference to “toxic.” You are clearly misusing the language to frighten Orangetown residents. Second, your reference to benzene, toluene, and xylene (BTX) as something uniquely “toxic” is almost laughable. Next time you stop at a gas station for a fill up, you are in intimate contact with BTX chemicals. In Germany, gasoline is referred to by the name of its principal chemical constituent, Benzin, i.e. benzene. And last, the vent stack from the proposed facility is just that; it is not a “smokestack pipe.” I doubt any smoke will be emitted from this facility.
On a most serious level, you state that “Pearl River suffers from abnormally high cancer rates” attributable to “nearby industries over many years.” I’d like to see the data that supports that assertion. I doubt you have it, and in any case, if the data exists, the problem can hardly be attributed to Anellotech, since they just arrived. Conjuring up bogeymen to frighten Orangetown residents serves no useful purpose.
The pending shutdown of significant portions of the Pfizer facility will result in the loss of hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in property tax ratables for the Pearl River community. The Pearl River School District appears headed for property tax problems similar to those experienced in North Rockland. A real leader would be exploring ways to encourage investment on the Pfizer campus which will lead to job creation and an expanded property tax base. The point with Anellotech or any other prospective occupant of the Pfizer site isn’t whether you should oppose it but how you can make it a law abiding member of the Orangetown community. Opposition as a reflex response works against the community interest.
As a political leader, you have a responsibility to understand the issues before taking a position. On technical matters, seek sound advice from qualified people. Based on your June commentary, you’re not getting it. Anellotech is “controversial” only because you have failed to understand the issues and present the community with an insight into the costs (of which there appear to be few) and the benefits (of which there appear to be many).
—Stephen R. Beck, Upper Nyack
Editor’s note—According to the American Cancer Society, “Benzene is known to cause cancer, based on evidence from studies in both people and lab animals. The link between benzene and cancer has largely focused on leukemia and cancers of other blood cells.” See http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/intheworkplace/benzene
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, the most common route of exposure to Toluene is via inhalation. Symptoms of toluene poisoning include headache, dizziness, ataxia, drowsiness, euphoria, hallucinations, tremors, seizures, and coma, ventricular arrhythmias, chemical pneumonitis, respiratory depression, nausea, vomiting, and electrolyte imbalances. See www.atsdr.cdc.gov/mmg/mmg.asp
In “Toxicity of Xylene,” the State of California found exposure caused “reproductive toxicity.”