Wednesday, September 20, 2006

“Yankee soil’s foul, sez group” NY Daily News 09/21/06

Yankee soil’s foul, sez group

Tanks under stadium leak gas – lawsuit

Yankee Stadium a brownfield?

Parks advocates filed suit in federal court earlier this month alleging that the National Parks Service improperly signed off on the new Yankee Stadium plan because it would replace existing parks with parkland contaminated by the leaky gas tanks under the old stadium.

Save Our Parks, along with the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality, represented by a lawyer for the Urban Environmental Law Center, accused the NPS of skirting its required review in its haste to greenlight the project.

The NPS provided funding for a previous rehab of the parks on the new stadium site, thus requiring it to approve any plan to convert them to other uses.

"They were supposed to assure that the replacement parkland was of equal value and usefulness," said Save Our Parks spokeswoman Joyce Hogi, "but the replacement land under the existing stadium is contaminated, making it less valuable, to say the least, than the parks they're taking away."

The advocacy group alleges that two fuel oil tanks underneath the House that Ruth Built have leaked contaminants into the soil.

According to the Final Environmental Impact Study for the stadium project, two 15,000-gallon underground fuel oil storage tanks were identified at the southwestern corner of the existing stadium. The study noted there is an open state Department of Environmental Conservation spill number associated with piping for the tanks from a tank test failure in 1999.

But the FEIS goes on to state that "no evidence of petroleum contamination was found in soil or groundwater collected adjacent to the known/suspected [underground storage tanks] at the existing stadium."

There was some petroleum contamination found in soil borings under Parking Lots 5 and 6 - also set to be converted into replacement parkland - which were previously the site of a filling station and an auto repair shop. The study recommended that all contaminated soil in that area be removed and disposed of during construction of the new park.

And while the FEIS also found levels of other contaminants that slightly exceeded state cleanup standards at several points around the site, the levels were called normal for urban soil. The study said plans to cap these areas with building foundations or at least 2 feet of clean fill would solve the problem.

National Parks Northeast Region spokesman Phil Sheridan dismissed the allegation that the NPS had not properly fulfilled its oversight role.

"We believe that we did a good, fair and thorough job with our review," Sheridan said, "and that the courts will support us."

Originally published on September 21, 2006


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