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Petition: Stop EPA From Dumping River Sludge In Harrison NJ

Oct 07, 2022
PSE&G Yard Property in Harrison NJ

This week former Councilman Anselmo Millan drafted a Petition to stop the EPA from Dumping Passaic River sludge in Harrison.   The Petition is both online and has a physical version which is being circulated throughout the Town of Harrison.

Anselmo Millan is a candidate for Mayor of Harrison in the Tuesday, November 8, 2022, General Election.  The Petition states:

We the undersigned Petition EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan and Governor Phil Murphy to NOT use the PSE&G property located at South Frank E. Rodgers Blvd in Harrison, NJ as a Sediment (Sludge) Processing Facility from the dredging of Passaic River contaminated toxic and cancer-causing soil. The sludge contains by-products of producing Agent Orange at the Diamond Alkali Superfund Site in Newark NJ.  Over Twenty Years Ago, Mayor Raymond J. McDonough and Peter Higgins set forth a plan to redevelop contaminated industrial properties into residential properties.  Their vision has almost been fulfilled.  Contaminated soils should not be dumped in what is now a residential neighborhood in Harrison NJ.

Harrison Mayoral Candidate Anselmo Millan

At the September 20, 2022, Mayor & Council meeting, Harrison Mayor James Fife stated that he was unaware of any definitive plans to use the PSE&G property for de-watering of Passaic River sludge.  Mayor Fife’s statement came after a question directed at Mayor Fife about his position on the proposed de-watering of Passaic River sludge in Harrison that was initially fielded by Town Attorney / Town Clerk Paul Zarbetski.  After what appeared to be a prepared statement from Paul Zarbetski, Mayor Fife stated when pushed to take a position on the dumping of sludge in Harrison stated “My position is when we know something we will say something.  We know nothing right now except what you are reading I don’t know where you were reading that right now …. We had one minor meeting with PSE&G and they told us that EPA was doing something but they don’t know what and we don’t know what…”

But when he was confronted with his statement from the August 29, 2022, Harrison Redevelopment Meeting.  Mayor Fife  changed his tone and admitted that there had been talks and that they said “They [EPA] did say that they [EPA] were going to take 10 years to use it [PSE&G site] ”

Mayor Fife went on to question a statement that PSE&G is in a residential zone. But when the speaker answered the question on how the PSE&G property was across the street from the apartment buildings Mayor Fife stated “Yeh, it’s across the street but we don’t know where it [sludge] is going to go”

It is clear that Mayor Fife when presented with a proposal to use the PSE&G site for the dewatering of the Passaic River Sludge in what is now a residential neighborhood did not consider public safety and health issue that could be caused by the de-watering and transportation by truck and train of the de-watered  Agent Orange contaminated soil through the Town of Harrison. Or the fact that after 20 years the Town of Harrison's Southern end (SOHA) is now residential and not an industrial area.  That is surprising because Mayor Fife has been the Chairman of the Harrison Redevelopment Agency for more than a decade.

Mayor Fife and the Town Council during the Keegan Landfill Protests only issued a resolution calling for the partial closure (not the complete Closure of) the Keegan Landfill even though evidence produced by the Town of Kearny in a trial against the owners of Keegan, the New Jersey Sports & Exhibition Authority (NJSEA) demonstrated that the hydrogen sulfide gas was in the 200 ppb where 30 ppb were considered a public health hazard.

Mayor Fife did not join the protest or attend any of the NJSEA Board Meetings that were attended by Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos, Kearny Council members and a group of residents and property owners of Harrison, NJ.

Former Councilman Anselmo Millan was at the  April 27, 2019 Protest March in the neighboring Town of Kearny to attend the momentum changing  “Close the Keegan Landfill Protest March” down Bergen Street in Kearny  NJ to the Keegan Landfill.  Anselmo Millan at that time was no longer a Councilman in Harrison having given up his Council seat by running for the Mayor of Harrison in the 2018 Primary election.  Millan lost the Mayoral race ultimately decided by 150 voters.  Millan finished his Councilman term in December of 2018.  As a private citizen, former Councilman Millan lent his support to the community's efforts to Close the Keegan Landfill. The Keegan Landfill is now closed but not capped.  Millan continued his community events with Thanksgiving Turkey Drives and Holiday Santa Claus events.

As of the publication of this article, the online Petition entitled “Petition to Stop Dumping of Sludge for Dewatering in Harrison NJ” has over 360 signatures online. Anselmo Millan is circulating paper Petitions in addition to the online Petition.

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