Cuomo busy with water protection efforts

John O'Brien Jul. 20, 2007, 1:26pm


NEW YORK - The majority of $8 million collected in five settlements by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will be used to protect the Bronx River from future water pollution and to expand an environmental protection program.

Cuomo made that announcement Wednesday following the series of settlements, a day after announcing his lawsuit against Exxon over an oil spill and a week after asking the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to re-examine its criteria when relicensing power plants.

"Every power plant, oil company and municipality that ignores the environmental damage they cause seriously endangers the people of New York State," Cuomo said. "My office will continue to strictly enforce environmental laws -- these cases are not only about preserving our land, air and water, but also about protecting the health and safety of our communities."

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will administer more than $7 million from the water pollution settlements, which were reached with Yonkers Racing Corp., the City of Yonkers, the City of White Plains, the Village of Scarsdale and the town of Greenburgh. Cuomo said all had been polluting the Bronx River with untreated sewage.

Malcolm Pirnie, an environmental consulting firm, has also been hired to investigate the Yonkers sewage system. The investigation is being funded by part of the settlement with Yonkers.

Cuomo also recently settled with Salvatore Castino, who must remove debris from protected wetlands in Columbia County and stop using a bridge he illegally build while paying a civil penalty of $82,500. He also must donate $50,00 to protect the habitat of an endangered species.

Cascino and his companies, Cuomo alleges, had been dumping debris from the Bronx onto wetlands at a site near Copake.

Also, Cuomo penalized PNL Stillwater for failing to halt the discharge of raw sewage from a mobile home park into Schuyler Creek, a tributary of the Hudson River. The penalty is $50,000

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