News > News > Stop Polluters > Pollution Enforcement > 11-6-08 Press Release – RvK and Councilman Eric Gioia Applaud State Enforcement Action Against Newtown Creek Polluter

11-6-08 Press Release – RvK and Councilman Eric Gioia Applaud State Enforcement Action Against Newtown Creek Polluter


November 6, 2008

Contacts: Craig Michaels, Riverkeeper, 917.579.5582
Eric Koch, NYC Councilman Eric Gioia, 617.733.6891

60 Days After Riverkeeper and Gioia Announced Intent to Sue, DEC Taking Action Against NYCON For Illegal Concrete Dumping

LONG ISLAND CITY – Today, Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Queens), Chairman of the City Council Committee on Oversight and Investigations, and the environmental watchdog group Riverkeeper announced that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will take legal action against NYCON Supply Corporation. The company has been allegedly discharging concrete waste illegally into the Dutch Kills, a tributary of the heavily-polluted Newtown Creek. The DEC’s action comes shortly after Riverkeeper and Gioia announced their intent to file a lawsuit against NYCON. Newtown Creek, the site of a massive oil spill, is one of the most polluted waterways in the United States.

The complaint filed by DEC against NYCON Supply Corporation and other defendants stems from investigations by the environmental watchdog group, Riverkeeper. In September, Gioia and Riverkeeper announced that Riverkeeper had filed a Notice of Intent to Sue the corporation for illegal discharges under the Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Under those laws, citizen groups are required to wait 60 and 90 days, respectively, before bringing suit against an alleged polluter. This notice period allows time for polluters to stop illegal discharges, while also providing state and federal agencies the opportunity to bring their own enforcement actions.

In this case, DEC Region 2 stepped in and filed its own complaint, alleging 23 separate causes of action against the company based on violations of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law. Based on investigations conducted by both Riverkeeper and DEC staff, the complaint alleges that, since at least 2006, NYCON Supply Company has been illegally discharging liquid concrete, cement-laden runoff, gravel, and other pollutants into the Dutch Kills, a tributary of Newtown Creek.

“The recent action taken by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation signals a major step forward in environmental enforcement around New York Harbor,” said Craig Michaels, a Riverkeeper Investigator. “It is now abundantly clear that citizens, elected officials and government agencies are working hand in hand to bring environmental lawbreakers to justice. On behalf of our over 10,000 members, Riverkeeper applauds the quick and decisive action taken by regional staff at DEC to stop this continuing source of pollution on Newtown Creek.”

“Newtown Creek has for years been the forgotten waterway of New York City, and polluters have taken advantage by dumping at will,” said Councilman Eric Gioia. “DEC is sending a strong message that that we will no longer stand for more dumping and more pollution in the Creek. Polluters, beware: we are watching, we are vigilant, and we will go after you.”

This DEC action comes on the heels of a recent New York State appellate court decision that reinstated criminal indictments against another concrete company, Quality Concrete, also located on Newtown Creek. That decision reversed a lower court ruling dismissing the indictments against the company and one of its vice presidents and ordered that there was sufficient evidence presented to the grand jury to sustain the indictments. That case is currently being handled by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.

Newtown Creek is a 3 mile long waterway that separates Brooklyn and Queens and is a tributary of the East River, the Hudson River, and New York Harbor. It is also the site of the 17 million-gallon Greenpoint oil spill, currently the center of numerous lawsuits against ExxonMobil by environmentalists, including Riverkeeper; lawmakers, including Councilman Gioia; and private citizens, and was recently identified by the United States EPA as a contaminated area warranting further study under the Superfund law.

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