“AshBritt [in Louisiana and Mississippi] had no-bid contracts. Here they have no-bid contracts. There, they moved debris piles around, here they move debris piles around. There they opened landfills that were closed, here landfills that were closed were opened. There, there was no governmental oversight or transparency in the process, here there’s been no governmental oversight or transparency.”
– Jeff Tittel, New Jersey Director of the Sierra Club
Today, along with the Sierra Club, three members of the New Jersey General Assembly raised some serious questions about the selection and performance of the company that received a no-bid contract to remove debris from Hurricane Sandy.
Tomorrow, a joint Senate and Assembly committee will hear testimony about the Superstorm Sandy cleanup. Today’s press conference by the Sierra Club focused not on the dubious way that the contract was awarded, but rather on AshBritt’s dismal environmental performance in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Sierra Club’s goal is to not leave New Jersey with a similar legacy of polluted sites. In fact, in New Orleans, the result of some of the “cleanup” was the creation of one, and possibly two, Superfund sites. The last thing we need in New Jersey is for AshBritt to give us more Superfund sites.
In addition to Tittel, Assemblymen Peter Barnes, Ruben Ramos, and Reed Gusciora each talked about the challenges of a robust and cost-effective Sandy cleanup. Barnes also announced the creation of a Coastal Commission Regional Planning Board to provide oversight on zoning, planning, and environmental protection.
The press conference is presented in its entirety, below. You can jump to Ruben Ramos at the 8:00 mark, Peter Barnes at 10:00, Reed Gusciora at 13:45, and the Q&A from the press at 17:37.