MASSENA – Defeated Congressional candidate Donald Hassig is urging residents to demand a cleanup of toxic waste sites around Massena when the Environmental Protection Agency comes to the North Country this week looking for public comment.
The Colton resident and founder of Cancer Action NY, remains undeterred in his quest for more recognition of persistent organic pollutants as a serious hazard to the health of Americans.
The EPA has proposed a plan to clean up contaminated river sediment at the Grasse River Superfund site, and will hold meetings in Massena today and Akwesasne Thursday to get input from the public on the plan.
A public information meeting is set for 1 to 3 p.m. in Massena Town Hall, and a public meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Massena High School auditorium, on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the EPA will be in Akwesasne, for a public meeting from 1 to 3 p.m. at the St. Regis Mohawk School.
Past industrial activities have contaminated the river sediment with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are potentially cancer-causing chemicals that build up in the food chain and accumulate in the fatty tissue of fish and mammals, ,according to the EPA.
“This is a perfect opportunity for the residents of Akwesasne, Massena and the rest of the region to come forward and demand clean-up of all industrial contamination in the St. Lawrence River Valley,” Hassig said in a statement.
“I have long advocated for removal of industrial contaminants from the soils and sediments of the North Country environment. I have communicated my desire for removal of these poisons to the EPA on many occasions,” Hassig said, urging residents to attend the meetings and to express their views..
After being handed a resounding defeat as the Green Party candidate in the three-way race for the 21st Congressional District seat last week – a campaign that was punctuated by his arrests alleging trespassing and disorderly conduct on several occasions – Hassig is back pushing for determined action by the EPA and industrial polluters along the St. Lawrence and Grasse Rivers to clean up remaining contaminants.