Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today applauded the lawsuit filed by New York City residents, office workers, parents, and students against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to comply with its federally mandated responsibility to clean up buildings contaminated in a terrorist attack. Two years ago, Congressman Nadler launched an investigation into EPA's wrongdoing, and documented EPA's legal responsibilities in a White Paper issued in April 2002. Last August, the EPA's own Inspector General released a report confirming that EPA is mandated to clean up buildings as stated in Presidential Decision Directive 62 signed in 1998. The National Strategy for Homeland Security issued in July 2002 reiterates that EPA is "responsible for decontamination of buildings and affected neighborhoods" following a major incident.
Nadler said, "After years of demanding that the EPA clean up toxic World Trade Center dust from homes, workspaces and schools, it is welcome news that New Yorkers will get their day in court. EPA decided to literally let the dust settle, but the people of New York City are not letting EPA get away with shirking its federal responsibility to clean up contaminated indoor spaces following a terrorist attack. The EPA must be forced to answer why it has allowed New Yorkers to be slowly poisoned by asbestos, silica, and other dangerous substances in World Trade Center dust that EPA refused to properly clean up."
Following the release of the Inspector General's report, Rep. Nadler called on the Department of Justice and the Congress to investigate the White House's role in EPA's response to 9/11. Rep. Nadler also issued a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to EPA to obtain information about the agency's own report entitled 'Lessons Learned in the Aftermath of September 11, 2001,' in which EPA admits that it made decisions 'with incomplete information and political decisions were prominent.' Both requests remain unanswered.
"As a result of our pressuring EPA, the Agency initiated a limited and flawed voluntary 'clean up' program, while still misleading the public about indoor air quality. After several attempts to get answers from the EPA, it is evident that only a lawsuit will allow New York City residents to learn the truth behind EPA's response to 9/11 and its failure to adequately clean up World Trade Center contaminants from homes, workspaces and schools. The people of New York are entitled to a response from EPA and it is encouraging that after years of questions, we may finally get some answers," said Nadler.
Nadler's White Paper and additional information is available on the Congressman's website.