Local politics, the county, and the world, as viewed by Tammy Maygra
Tammy’s views are her own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bill Eagle, his pastor, Tammy’s neighbors, Wayne Mayo, Betsy Johnson, Joe Corsiglia, President Trump, Henry Heimuller, VP Pence, Pat Robertson, Debi Corsiglia’s dog, or Claudia Eagle’s Cats. This Tammy’s Take (with the exception of this disclaimer) is not paid for or written by, or even reviewed by anyone but Tammy and she refuses to be bullied by anyone.
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Who Should Pay For The Clean Up?
By Tammy Maygra
I am commenting on the two settlement proposals that would absolve companies with historical operations on Railroad Avenue in St. Helens from liability for hazardous substance releases. Kaiser Gypsum, Armstrong World Industries, and Owens Corning which operated in St. Helens for decades. These companies were and are fully aware of the toxins, and hazardous waste which their companies released into the environment. Toxins flowing into the slough and into the Columbia River.
Now after decades of the contaminates being released into our environment and the closing of the plant these companies are going down then same path of all companies which are found to be in the situation of moving to a different location in order to “quote save money” or for the actual reason to cut wages for their workers so they can make more profits. They contaminate an area then move on to another area to start the process all over. Stay--- pollute--- and move again decades later, again leaving Super Fund Sites for the community to live in, and pay to clean up.
These companies have made profits while they have been in operation in St. Helens, now it is time that these companies take responsibility for the clean- up of the pollution which THEY have created. It is not the responsibility of the taxpayers in Oregon, St. Helens, or Columbia County to pay for the clean-up or pay for the studies regarding the amount of toxins these companies have left in the environment from their facility.
Columbia County has been the victim of other companies polluting the area then leaving and the taxpayers are left paying for the associated costs and certain sites which are still polluted for example the old battery facility Bergsoe, which has been closed for years, but the taxpayers paid for what clean-up that could be done. Boise Cascade which is toxic lands not to mention the pollution they put into the Columbia River to mitigate downstream, or the continuous leeching of toxins from the contaminated land. The same for Armstrong land leeching. We have the chemical plant at Deer Island which has polluted the nearby water system, wells, the Columbia river, The Deer Island Springs, and contaminated have been found as far as Tide Creek. Contamination played havoc with the hay which was harvested from the hay fields by the plant, causing liver abbesses in cows, deer, elk, and horses. The company’s own study says the contamination will always be there because the source will always be there. Even though the company has taken measures to try and keep the contaminates on site. But Their contaminates are water soluble and travel easily.
It is time The Port of St. Helens, The City of St. Helens, Columbia County, EPA and The DEQ take a stand and require responsibility of companies to clean up their mess’s which they have created at their cost and not pass the cost to the people who did not create the toxic waste. The people have paid for or loss tax revenue from these companies through tax deferrals, tax abatements, and low property tax assessments, and whatever other taxpayer funded freebies these companies have received. These companies have made billions in profits at the expense of all of us t time they pay their dues.
These companies have had the best of both worlds and its time for the companies to be held accountable for their actions. The easy cop out for filing bankruptcy is not an excuse for them not to pay for their pollution. They need to take responsibility for their actions.
The $9 million cost to pay for a study on the low-land area is a drop in the bucket for the actual cost for clean-up cost, these companies need to pay for the entire associated cost from the study to actual cleanup and if it is found that the clean –up was faulty or not sufficient they will continue to be responsible for all associated costs on all the property where contaminates are found.
I encourage the DEQ to stand firm and require all companies to pay in full for the damages which they have created in the past, present and which will ultimately affect the health of the environment in the future.