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Ecologist June 2007
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Environment Agency letter in response to May 2007 Ecologist investigation

June, 2007

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, responds to the Ecologist May 2007 investigation in the June 2007 letters page

I write in response to your article ‘Burying the truth’ (May 2007), which includes a number of misrepresentations.

In March 2005, the Brofiscin quarry was classified as contaminated land due to pollution of controlled waters and designated a ‘special site’ under the contaminated land legislation (Part 2A of the EPA 1990). Until that time, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council was the lead authority for Brofiscin and continues to be responsible for assessing the human health risks associated with the site due to air quality.

Our Brofiscin investigations – in line with our responsibility for the environment – have focussed on assessing the current state of controlled water pollution and its potential to spread. These results are also being used by the council for its ongoing analysis of public health issues. In this instance, the technical and historical information received from Mr Gowan will not significantly improve the report being compiled by Atkins, which focuses on the current state of the site. However, we thank Mr Gowan for all the help he has given and continues to give.

Since being designated a ‘special site’, the Environment Agency (EA) has led an ongoing investigation to identify the ‘appropriate person/s’ for remediation liabilities. These investigations are focussed on a number of companies and individuals – not just Monsanto. On expert advice from our US attorneys, the EA has filed a protective reservation of rights in the US Bankruptcy Court to clarify the liability of Solutia Inc and Monsanto for remediation costs with respect to Brofiscin Quarry. This action preserves our rights to proceed against Solutia Inc and/or Monsanto for these costs.

We recently met with Mr Gowan to discuss his concerns. Your article asks serious questions regarding EA propriety in carrying out our statutory duties to protect the environment. We did not release Mr Gowan’s testimony to Monsanto or Tony Morgan; neither did we withhold it from the council. We take these accusations very seriously and strongly refute any wrongdoings by our officers in this respect, who have acted professionally at all times.

Our priority since taking the lead on this site in 2005 has always been – and shall remain – to protect the environment for people and wildlife. We are committed to determining the best way forward to protect the local environment and to recover costs from those liable.

Barbara Young,
Chief Executive,
Environment Agency


The Ecologist replies: The issues addressed here are answered in our follow up article; see pages 12-16.

 

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