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Letter to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2 Alan Steinberg

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Four New Jersey lawmakers sent a letter today to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 Administrator Alan Steinberg asking that the agency halt all excavation activities at the Ringwood Superfund Site until the Borough of Ringwood is able to finish geophysical testing. The letter was sent by U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and U.S. Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). A copy of the letter follows.

July 18, 2007

The Honorable Alan Steinberg

Administrator, Region 2

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2

290 Broadway

New York, New York 10007-1866

Dear Administrator Steinberg:

We are writing to follow up on previous letters by Senators Lautenberg and Menendez requesting that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cease all excavation activities at the Ringwood Mines/Landfill Superfund Site until the appropriate testing is completed to ensure the health and safety of the residents.

As you are aware, the Borough of Ringwood and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently relocated residents after a series of sinkholes opened up near several homes and under a street. This is just the latest in a long line of problems associated with the Ringwood Superfund site.

The DEP has requested that the Ford Motor Company and Ringwood conduct additional geophysical testing to determine if there is further risk of sinkholes, before they continue with the clean up of the site. The EPA refused to require Ford Motor Company (Ford) to perform the seismic testing necessary to ensure the safety of nearby residents. The Borough of Ringwood, in the best interests of its citizens and in compliance with the NJDEP Directive, has responded by doing the testing itself.

Despite Ringwood's agreement to conduct additional testing, the EPA has ordered that Ford continue excavation work undermining an order to the contrary by state officials. This is unacceptable.

It is unwise to continue the clean-up until the results of the geophysical testing show whether continued excavation will cause more sinkholes, risking the safety of borough residents. This testing will help ensure the safety of the residents and will reaffirm that the clean-up plan currently being implemented by the EPA and Ford presents no risk to the community.

We continue to support a complete and expeditious cleanup of the Ringwood site. However, that cleanup must be accomplished with full consideration of the safety of the Borough's residents. We urge the EPA to stop all excavation activities until the Borough of Ringwood can complete the appropriate testing in order to protect the residents and infrastructure of Ringwood.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to continuing to work together.

Sincerely,

FRANK PALLONE, JR.
Members of Congress

FRANK R. LAUTENBERG
United States Senate

BILL PASCRELL, JR.
Members of Congress

ROBERT MENENDEZ
United States Senate


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