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Bob Banfelder

Bob is an award-winning crime-thriller novelist and outdoors writer. "The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water" is endorsed by Lefty Kreh and Angelo Peluso~online at Amazon.

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April 02, 2016

The U.S Navy's Stalling, Studying, Waiting Game

by Bob Banfelder

In my April 1st report titled Arrogance at Its Highest Level, we saw that the United States Navy, addressing the toxic plume polluting the Peconic River, did an about-face—verbally. The Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, made promises to undertake a cleanup of the plume. However, action speaks louder than words. Let's take a look at my article covering these events. No one said that it was going to be easy.

JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED: REMEDY VS. NAVY'S RHETORIC

November 14, 2009

As a leopard does not change its spots, the United States Navy, true to form, is not veering from its original position. Its position is one steeped in a stew of procrastination. In my blog for Red Room (an online community for writers) dated August 17, 2009, I had said where I believed this matter was headed. I was not wrong. Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, had pledged to do whatever it takes to clean up the toxic plume in the Peconic River. Yet, at a November 5th meeting between community members on the Navy's Restoration Advisory Board and the Navy's remedial cleanup project team, procrastination, at the Navy's behest, continued. Advisory board members had requested that the Navy install a "pump-and-treat system" in the midst of the extensive toxic plume, which is polluting the Peconic River. However, the Navy's remedial project manager, Lora Fly, who oversees the so-called federal cleanup, denied the Board's temporary measure as the Navy continues to drag its feet. Be reminded that tests of wells in the area conducted by the Navy and the county health department have found concentrations of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) two hundred (200) times the state's allowable drinking water standards.

One member of the Restoration Advisory Board, Bob Conklin, a retired biology teacher, had said: "We've been concerned for years about what's going into the Peconic River. We're not seeing anything concrete and positive toward mitigating the situation. I can't see how putting in one well is going to hurt or cost you a lot of money. We're not asking for a major cleanup [at this point]. Just show something positive . . . instead of talking about it. You get tired of this after a while."

In sum and substance, Lora Fly responded with: "We have to look at what technology is out there and what is the best way to handle this. Until we have a full understanding of what's out there, we can't just go ahead and throw in a treatment system."

Conklin bristled at Lora Fly's dilatory comments. He countered by succinctly concluding: "This could take years and years, and then more years." And Bob Conklin is oh, so correct. The Navy's continued procrastination is altogether evident as it has been well-aware of the situation for at least a decade.

Reporting on the health department's latest findings, geologist Andrew Rapiejko stated: "We've identified, in this sampling round, two distinct discharge points . . . . it is getting into the river. It is [the plume] discharging."

The Navy is criminally responsible for the toxic pollution flowing from the former Grumman property in Calverton, New York, into the Peconic River. The Navy persists in giving us rhetoric instead of remedies. As a leopard does not change its spots, the United States Navy is not even bothering to camouflage theirs. I would have to say that the folks here in the Riverhead area of Long Island are in a proverbial stew of procrastination.
…….

For next month, I'll continue covering the fecal coliform pollution issue at the other end of the Peconic River; that is, the focus on the dumping of raw sewage into the Peconic River at the north foot of the 105 Bridge in Riverhead. We'll examine the prevarication and semantics offered up by the Department of Environmental Conservation, (DEC). Too, I'll continue with my ongoing chronicle concerning the toxic pollution of the upper reaches of the Peconic River as well as the United State Navy's rhetoric and procrastination concerning clean-up of the toxic plume that resulted in exceeding New York State's allowable drinking water standards by as high as two hundred (200) times. Yes, you read that number correctly earlier. Any wonder as to why the cancer rate is abnormally high in both Nassau and Suffolk counties? Quoted below is the initial text referencing the state's Water Quality Standards and Classifications:

"Water Quality Standards are the basis for programs to protect the state waters. Standards set forth the maximum allowable levels of chemical pollutants and are used as the regulatory targets for permitting, compliance, enforcement, and monitoring and assessing the quality of the state's waters. Waters are classified for their best uses (fishing, source of drinking water, etc.) and standards (and guidance values) are set to protect those uses."

I'm sure we all want to see more of this …


Bob with a 14-pound bluefish taken on his hand-tied mantis shrimp fly


Our Cablevision Channel 20 TV show, Special Interests with Bob & Donna, will address the water pollution issues of the Peconic River beginning today, April 2nd at 4 p.m., rerunning each consecutive Saturday in April. The show reaches viewers residing in Wading River to Orient Point and Eastport to Montauk. If you reside out of area, please ask a friend to tape this show for you.
Stay tuned.

Robert Banfelder

Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network

Co-host Cablevision TV show, Special Interests with Bob & Donna, every Saturday, 4 p.m., Channel 20 for East End viewers.

Nonfiction:
The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water

The North American Small & Big Game Hunting Smart Handbook ~ Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game

Fiction:
Award-Winning Crime Thriller Novelist (nine novels to date)

Note: All synopses and summaries may be viewed on my Web site http://www.robertbanfelder.com. See link for Synopses: Published Fiction & Nonfiction. A listing of my entire works may be viewed under the Publications link on my Web site.








April 01, 2016

Arrogance at its Highest Level

by Bob Banfelder

Referencing my March 2nd, 2016 blog for Nor'east Saltwater, titled Fighting Back & Winning, I said that I would take you back in time to August 17th, 2009 in continuing the fight against the United States Navy's refusal to clean up the toxic plume it created at the former Northrop Grumman plant back in the 1950s. In 2008, the plume was discovered in the upper regions of the Peconic River, having leached into the area's groundwater, polluting 27 wells that provided drinking water. Water samples were taken and found to be as high as two hundred (200) times New York State's drinking water standards! Here it is, folks. Please read, realize, and remember that we as a people can initiate change if we voice our concerns sensibly, loudly, clearly, and persistently.

THE UNITED STATES NAVY DOES A 180—VERBALLY

August 17, 2009

You'll recall in my last blog [Red Room's online community of writers] that Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Assistant Navy Secretary for Installations and Environment B.J. Penn had taken a firm position as conveyed through Navy spokeswoman Lieutenant j.g. Steghrr in declaring that the "Calverton site [the former Northrop Grumman plant] does not present a health or safety risk." The secretary of the Navy has now done a 180, promising to do whatever it takes to rectify the matter.

Senator Schumer said he recently received a pledge from the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus: "The federal government will do all it can to protect those who live and work in Calverton, as well as wildlife in the area, from the pollution," as was quoted in the Riverhead News~Review. But talk is cheap. Let's listen to the language of another Navy spokesperson, Jim Brantley, who now says that the Navy is intent on returning the land around the Calverton plant, as much as possible, to the way it was in the 1950s. "As long as it takes," Mr. Bradley pledged. Yet the Navy has been monitoring the plume since the 1990s, maintaining that the toxic compounds have been dissipating naturally as they flow away from the Grumman property via a process called natural attenuation. The fluid body has been running its course for better than half a century! In less than a week, I've learned that the plume, which was recently reported to be at least a quarter of a mile wide, is now known to extend better than a third of a mile. Additionally, the volatile substances run half a mile south of the plant and have found their way into the banks of the Peconic River. I'm not optimistic concerning the outcome. I see procrastination in the picture. I hear rhetoric. Allow me to illustrate by positing deferred measures that are sure to follow:

The Navy's remedial project manager, Lora Fly, who oversees the federal cleanup efforts at the Calverton site, said that the Navy's goal with regard to the contaminated (toxic) groundwater "is to reach levels that are in the [state] regulations. The overall goal is to do that," she continued. "But just like anything else, you're going to have to do it in stages. I'm not saying by tomorrow we're going to have that done, but that's the overall goal, and we will be working toward that goal."

"Small technical meetings," will follow in the fall, it is reported. That is five weeks away. Why not earlier? When in the fall will these meetings commence (in the middle of the season or at its end)? Of course, meetings will be followed by a Corrective Measures Study—or studies, which will "evaluate the feasibility and potential benefits of various remedial alternatives for the plume," writes an Albany-based Departmental of Environmental Conservation engineer geologist.

And so it shall continue (meetings and studies, compromises and concessions), ad infinitum, is my pessimistic outlook. I truly hope I'm wrong, but I rarely am mistaken, for I've been dealing with federal, state, and local governments for more years than the Navy has been polluting the Peconic River. Action speaks louder than words.
…….


Our Cablevision Channel 20 TV show, Special Interests with Bob & Donna, will address the water pollution issues of the Peconic River beginning this Saturday, April 2nd at 4 p.m., rerunning each consecutive Saturday in April. The show reaches viewers residing in Wading River to Orient Point and Eastport to Montauk. If you reside out of area, please ask a friend to tape this show for you.

In short order, I'll be returning my focus back to the other end of the Peconic River, where raw sewage from the Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant, having operated at half capacity, has been dumped into the Peconic River, right beneath the 105 bridge in Riverhead, just 1.5 miles away from our shellfish grounds. Whether we are anglers, boaters, baymen—or anyone connected with on-the- water activities—we, especially, must voice our concerns. Landlubbers, too, must realize that Long Island residents reside atop a water table, a reservoir of aquifers that provides our drinking water. Landfills must be monitored for toxic waste that has the potential to leach into those waters; that is, the Upper Glacial Aquifer, the Lloyd Aquifer, and the Magothy Aquifer.

Donna and I want to see more of this …


First mate Dan with Donna's 16-pound striped bass caught aboard Brooklyn Girl Fishing Charter, out of Orient Point. Let's help support our Long Island captains.

. . . not a succession of fish kills along with a mass of diamondback terrapin turtles that have succumbed to having digested toxic shellfish in the fragile Peconic estuary, comprising both the north and south forks of Long Island, a treasure that is slowly being compromised.

Stay tuned.

Robert Banfelder

Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network

Co-host Cablevision TV show, Special Interests with Bob & Donna, every Saturday, 4 p.m., Channel 20 for East End viewers.

Nonfiction:
The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water

The North American Small & Big Game Hunting Smart Handbook ~ Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game


Fiction:
Award-Winning Crime Thriller Novelist (nine novels to date)

Note: All synopses and summaries may be viewed on my Web site http://www.robertbanfelder.com. See link for Synopses: Published Fiction & Nonfiction.
An entire list of my works may be viewed under the Publications link on my Web site.







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