Joe Lentol is sponsoring legislation to outlaw the siting of radioactive storage facilities within 1,500′ of schools. This legislation – inspired by Luis Garden Acosta’s “toxic-free school zone” idea – would force Radiac, located at the corner of Kent and Grand, to cease radioactive waste storage. (As Luis says, if we can have drug-free school zones, why can’t we have toxic-free school zones?)
Lentol’s press release is reproduced in full, below:
Legislation to Close Radioactive Waste Site, RADIAC, Next to Elementary School Passes Both Houses
Legislation Forbids Radioactive Waste Facilities Within 1500 Feet of Any School
Assemblyman Lentol Urges the Governor to Sign the Legislation into Law
Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (D-North Brooklyn) is thrilled to announce that legislation he wrote and sponsored making it illegal for Radiac Research Inc., a radioactive waste storage facility, to continue to operate at its current location in North Brooklyn has passed both the Assembly and Senate. The legislation is on its way to Governor Patterson and Assemblyman Lentol urges the Governor to sign the legislation into law.
“This legislation would be a real victory for the North Brooklyn community and the safety of our children,” said Lentol. “I want to thank Senator Martin Malave Dilan for sponsoring it in the Senate and all of my colleagues in the legislature for helping me to take this important step towards ensuring that there is a plenty of space between our children and radioactive waste.”
At issue is the company’s close proximity to a local elementary school PS 84; so close it is actually in violation of NYC code. Despite the site typically storing medical low-grade radioactive waste that many experts see as relatively safe to store, Assemblyman Lentol refuses to gamble with the health of his constituents. This has been an especially worrisome because the City of New York has recently closed Fire Company 212 which was the engine company specially trained to deal with facilities such as RADIAC. Also, the Department of Justice has stated that such facilities are at high risk of terrorist attacks.
Lentol believes that any company storing radioactive waste should not be located in such a populated area. “No one wants to live next to a dump, let alone one that contains radioactive waste. It is only common sense that my constituents be safeguarded against potential health hazards that are completely avoidable. It is appalling that the students in this community are going to school next to radioactive waste, if the Governor signs this legislation it will be a real victory for the environment for health, for safety and for our children,” said Lentol.
Assemblyman Lentol teamed up with local students from the El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice to create the legislation. The legislation prohibits any kind of radioactive waste facility within 1500 feet of the boundary of a school. In order to write the legislation Assemblyman Lentol needed to know exactly how many feet were between PS 84 and the toxic waste facility. So as a special project, the math class at El Puente went out in the community and measured the exact distance.
“El Puente’s over 20 year struggle, launched by our Toxic Avengers and, today, embraced by all, is poised to take a major step in reclaiming the safety and environment of our communities, especially, our school young. With Governor Patterson’s support we look forward to ‘Toxic Free School Zones’ across New York State, heralding our human right to clean air, green and open spaces as well as renewable, sustainable energy. Our schools can, now, teach another ‘R’ – the Right of North Brooklyn and all communities to peace and environmental justice,” said Luis Garden Acosta, the founder, president and CEO of El Puente Academy.
“El Puente has a long history of being involved in community and the environment and without them this legislation would not exist. This hands on project gave students the opportunity to learn not only math but also about the environment and government. I am grateful for their crucial role in this process,” said Assemblyman Joe Lentol. “It is my hope that these students’ work will go the full length of the process and be signed into law by Governor Patterson,” he continued. “If it does, those students will have played a crucial role in protecting all of the students who come after them. They should be very proud,” said Lentol.