Monday, April 30, 2007

Greenpoint Oil Spill TV Redux

Any coverage of the awful Exxon-Mobil Greenpoint Oil Spill is to be applauded, and so we were interested to get an email from WNET announcing a definite Tivo moment: an episode of New York Voices on the Greenpoint Oil Spill this Friday, May 4 at 10 PM.

The email about the show says:
For over 50 years, residents of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, have been living on top of an astonishing 17 million gallon oil spill that contaminated the waters of Newtown Creek, left behind from the oil refinery industry in the 40's and 50's, and seeped into the surrounding land. Many residents are claiming that they and the people around them are sick with cancer as a result of the spill, yet little has been done to rectify this situation...

New York Voices joins chief investigator Basil Seggos from RiverKeeper, an environmental watch group, on a tour of Newtown Creek. Seggos discusses the damage caused by the 17 million gallons of oil (50 percent more than the amount that saturated Alaska's coast from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill), and the danger this kind of pollution poses to the surrounding areas, homes, businesses and people of Brooklyn and Queens. Riverkeeper is suing ExxonMobil, among others, to hold the corporation responsible for the spill and enforce a long over-due clean-up.

Greenpoint residents are frustrated with the lack of attention given to the spill. They believe there is a strong connection to the alarming trend among family members and neighbors who are sick with cancer and the oil vapors and toxic soil found under their homes. The New York Health Department has known about the spill since 1978 but they have never conducted an official health study...
Should be interesting viewing. Speaking of which, if you didn't catch the superb vbs.tv series on environmental issues in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, make sure you watch the seven episodes of Toxic Brooklyn. Knowledge may not change anything, but at least, you know.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Greenpoint Archive said...

It looks like PBS is going to continue the smear campaign that VBS started last week. Before you watch the show, here are some important facts that VBS conveniently left out. I hope PBS includes the fact that the oil story is 30 years old and was never hidden. The clean up has been going on since the early 90’s with regular annual public meetings in the community providing updates. Health data shows no abnormal spike in health related issues even after 50 years.
VBS also conveniently leaves out the fact that:
1) More than half of the 17 million gallon spill has already been cleaned up. 
2) The remediation process has been going on, with the blessing of local elected officials, since 1992 and continues. 
3) The spill is almost entirely under the remote western industrial section of Greenpoint near the East Williamsburg industrial park. There are a few residential streets near Kingsland Avenue that are above the spill, but the vast majority of residential properties are not involved with the spill.
The oil is not oozing up as the video suggests. There are no vapors covering the community as the video suggests. VBS never explains that Dorothy Swick’s problem arose because a neighbor decided to illegally drill for a well in his backyard thirty feet down to reach a contaminated aquifer. Her vapor problem was created by that stupidity, not by any oil bubbling up.
Athough “Toxic Brooklyn” covers some of Williamsburg’s environmental issues in the first two episodes, they also carefully mixed in many clips of people saying how much they love Williamsburg. Even the narrator announces “everyone wants a piece of funkytown”. The video is laced with attractive shots of billyburg shop and boutiques. When it comes to Greenpoint, no such video. Only repeated clips of our notorious Laura Hoffman complaining and lying about the neighborhood. The video never mentions that she is one of only six residents who joined Riverkeepers lawsuit against the oil companies for the oil spill, or that none of the six plaintiffs live above the spill. It is a tragedy to be dealing with an illness in the family, but that does not excuse anyone from spreading hurtful lies about a community. She mentions the Greenpoint Incinerator even though there is no Greenpoint incinerator. The smoke stacks the camera zooms in on are the Con Edison stacks in Astoria. Mrs. Hoffman has been a loud voice protesting the rezoning and waterfront development in Greenpoint. This may explain the purpose of her scare tactics.
Tom Stagg, who is in the video, claims to be living on top of oil even though Newell Street is not where the spill is. What a sloppy fact checking job VBS did with this. You see, Mr. Stagg’s property is adjacent to McGuinness Blvd which went through a major reconstruction including digging all of the old building foundations from the street. No oil was found during the project. Mr. Stagg is not telling the truth. Greenpoint has lower cancer rates than Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights and many other Bklyn neighborhoods. It also has some of the lowest cancer rates in all of nyc/nys. These stats can easily be seen at
http://www.nyhealth.gov/statistics/cancer/registry/pdf/volume1nycneighborhoods.pdf
But of course that was never mentioned in the video. Just 5 straight episodes dedicated to spreading exaggerations and lies about Greenpoint.
Cutesy shots of hipsters frolicking in Williamsburg juxtaposed against two questionable individuals making claims that people in Greenpoint are falling victim to cancer makes it clear what VBS’s agenda is. All these lies started when Greenpoint won its battle against Community Board 1 and local Brooklyn based politicians to have its East River waterfront (nowhere near the spill) rezoned for residential development. Hope VBS got a nice check for their work. What’s the going rate for slander these days?

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Yeah, don't you see? Oil spills aren't that bad. It's not like it's nuclear waste that continues to sit under one of the most densely populated cities of the world. And hey, *some* of that oil isn't even under a residential area! Some people who live in those areas haven’t even been stricken with cancer yet! Let's all give a big round of applause for the oil industry, their paid-off politicians, and their blog-commenting lackeys! How dare anyone criticize their noble, harmless actions.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Greenpoint Archive said...

Every fact I have mentioned is 100% verifiable. You should go over to Tom Stagg's Newell Street block today. He has three neighboring properties completing deep excavations for new sub basement foundations. The trucks are loaded with dirt. Guess what? It's all clean. Not a hint of oil or contaminated soil. New gas line trenches are being dug one block down. No oil there either. Mr. Stagg is not telling the truth. The racist williamsburg bloggers are desparate to push this smear campaign before the vapor data, which shows no sign of oil vapors is publically released. Nice try guys. Sell your toxic brownfield Williamsburg condos while you can. People are discovering the truth about your Greenpoint lies. As for VBS's founder Spike Jonze, he went from producing jackass to becoming one.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Greenpoint Archive said...

For all those looking for proof that VBS lied in their video, you should go over to Tom Stagg’s Newell Street block today. He has three neighboring properties completing deep excavations for new sub basement foundations. The trucks are loaded with dirt. Guess what? It’s all clean. Not a hint of oil or contaminated soil. New gas line trenches are being dug one block down. No oil there either. Mr. Stagg is not telling the truth. The racist Williamsburg bloggers are desparate to push this smear campaign before the vapor data, which shows no signs of oil vapor is publically released. Nice try guys. Sell your toxic brownfield Williamsburg condos while you can. People are discovering the truth about your Greenpoint lies. As for VBS’s founder Spike Jonze, he went from producing jackass to becoming one.

8:12 PM  

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