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DEC announces May 18 virtual public meeting to discuss proposed sitewide cleanup plans at former Lackawanna Bethlehem Steel site

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Wed, May 5th 2021 04:25 pm

DEC & DOH to present cleanup plans, future public access opportunities; public comments accepted until June 18

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, in consultation with the State Department of Health, announced the two agencies are holding a virtual public meeting from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, May 18, to review progress and answer questions about sitewide remediation efforts at the former Bethlehem Steel site in the City of Lackawanna. 

“The rebirth of the former site of Bethlehem Steel is moving forward and, when complete, will give access to this section of Lake Erie’s waterfront for the first time in more than a century,” DEC Regional Director Chad Staniszewski said. “Public involvement in deciding how the site should be redeveloped and reopened for public use is critical and will help ensure that this site’s rebirth promotes recreational use and strengthens the local economy.”

City of Lackawanna Director of Development Richard Stanton said, "The Bethlehem Steel site represents about one-third of the City of Lackawanna, and the manner in which it was left in 1986 was devastating. Now, through the efforts of every level of state and local government, we have seen unprecedented development along the Route 5 portion. Through the efforts of NYSDEC, we are seeing the potential to provide regional amenities taking advantage of the city's lakefront. The actions also have the potential to open up hundreds of acres of strategically located land to the city's tax roll and we are excited."

The virtual public meeting will discuss details of the proposed remedial action plans required under the terms of the 2020 legal agreement, an order on consent between DEC, Tecumseh, and its former parent corporation, ArcelorMittal USA, to comprehensively clean up the former site of Bethlehem Steel at an estimated cost of at least $65 million. 

The consent order legally requires Tecumseh to complete the cleanup of the former industrial site under the state superfund and corrective action programs, including the comprehensive remediation and monitoring of roughly 500 acres on the site nearest to the Lake Erie shoreline with closure and post-closure care for the site. In addition to addressing contamination at the site, the cleanup and subsequent restoration will provide public access to the waterfront for the first time in more than 100 years, among other environmental and recreational benefits. 

A conceptual diagram depicting public access to Lake Erie along Smokes Creek will be presented at the May 18 virtual public meeting. Public comments will be collected for consideration in Tecumseh's future collaboration with the community in an iterative, multistep process that will hone and develop plans for public access throughout remediation and postremediation outreach opportunities. 

Interested citizens should submit comments on the proposed plans, including comments related to potential public access and future use, within the 45-day comment period. DEC will consider these prior to issuing its final remedial decisions on the site. Public comments can be submitted through June 18 to Project Manager Stanley Radon ([email protected]), by calling the site hotline at 833-578-2019, or by submitting an online form found at www.BethlehemSteelCleanup.com. To view documents related to the site, including the draft statement of basis documents that are open for public comment, visit https://www.dec.ny.gov/data/DecDocs/915009/ . 

For more information and instructions on how to attend and RSVP to the May 18 meeting, visit www.BethlehemSteelCleanup.com or call 833-578-2019.

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