Saturday, August 06, 2011

ESDC acknowledges uncovered trucks leaving Atlantic Yards site not "isolated" incidents, but extent of penalties is unclear

Yesterday, I wrote about evidence of repeated examples of dump trucks leaving the Atlantic Yards site uncovered--violations of the Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments.

I finally got an answer from the Empire State Development Corporation, but it wasn't a very satisfying one, even though it acknowledged that it was not an "isolated incident."


Raising the issue

To recap, on 7/25/11 I contacted the ESDC, pointing to additional evidence of trucks leaving the site without tarps, contradicting the agency's previous assertion that it "appears to be an isolated incident."

I got a response on 7/28/11 that they were working on a response. I followed up on 8/4/11, pointing to two more incidents.

I asked:
These are clearly not isolated incidents, so the question remains: if these are violations--and they sure seem to be--what steps or penalties have been or will be taken?
ESDC response

ESDC spokeswoman Elizabeth Mitchell responded yesterday, 8/5/11:
Once it was brought to ESD’s attention by our environmental consultant that this was not an isolated incident, ESD required FCRC [Forest City Ratner Companies] to work with the contractor to develop a more stringent review and disciplinary process which would result in immediate removal from the site if truckers leave the site with their load uncovered. In the past there has been a two-strike policy where truckers would have to be caught in the act twice before they are removed from the site.
More questions

My follow-up:
  • When did the process go into effect?
  • Is this one contractor, or more than one?
  • Have any truckers been removed? Are those individual drivers, or subcontractors?
  • And isn't it systemic, in a sense: if "Outgoing trucks shall be inspected at the gate," as per the environmental commitments memo, it seems to me there should be some leverage over the firm as a whole, not just the drivers. Does the firm, or whoever's in charge of inspections, face any penalties?
Update: the ESDC's response is here.

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