Friday, July 2, 2010

Campaign Victory Party & Coverage

To all of our incredible friends, allies, donors, supporters, funders, comrades, colleagues and fellow freedom fighters who have sent messages of congratulations and well-wishes this week - and for your critical support throughout the past few years of this campaign.

We hope you can help us celebrate at our VICTORY PARTY this Friday!

Help us celebrate this historic occasion, and say farewell to our
beloved Environmental Justice Organizer, Thomas Assefa.

WHAT: VICTORY POTLUCK & farewell to Thomas!

WHEN: Friday, July 9. 5-8pm

WHERE: MOM Office - 928 Intervale Ave, Bronx

Please bring a dish to share. RSVP to

Here are a couple hits from the past week:

NY Times:
In Hunts Point, Celebrating an End to Sludge

By Sam Dolnick and Mireya Navarro

Community Legal Victory Banishes South Bronx Sewage Smells

Environmental News Service

Also see our FLICKR SITE for photos of last week's press event announcing the settlement.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Settlement Reached! VICTORY!!

Today was the last day that NYOFCO - The NY Organic Fertilizer Company - will receive sludge from the City to treat at the plant next door to Barretto Point Park! We have concluded our settlement! (See Press Release below for details).

It's truly an amazing accomplishment - one which wouldn't have happened without the tireless work of MOM leaders, with the support of many allies along the way. Thanks to NRDC, The Point, HPMC and all of our South Bronx allies, Congressman Jose Serrano and his fantastic staff, and to DEP for cooperating with us to move this work forward.

Our press conference today was met by some of the last noxious odors that the plant will emit - a reminder of the impact this settlement will have on local residents of the Hunts Point area.

Please visit our flickr site for photos and video of some moving testimony by MOM leaders, and remember to follow MOM on Twitter: @MOMBX

The text of the press release from NRDC is below, followed by some selected photos of the press conference.

Press contact: Courtney Hamilton, 212-727-4569,
If you are not a member of the press, please write to us at or see our contact page

South Bronx Win: Settlement Reached in Case Against Sewage Odors; Sewage Sludge Plant Set to Close Today
City to Require Controls on Future Sewage Odors and Fund New Hunts Point Green Space

NEW YORK (June 30, 2010) -- A major environmental justice case in the South Bronx was settled today as New York City agreed to resolve long-standing community concerns regarding odors and emissions from sewage facilities in the Hunts Point neighborhood.

The legal settlement also coincides with the last shipment of de-watered sewage sludge to the New York Organic Fertilizer Company (NYOFCo) -- one of the two sewage facilities at issue in the litigation.

“This agreement ensures that the NYOFCo facility, which has plagued this community with its noxious odors for almost two decades, will not run as it is ever again,” said Al Huang, NRDC attorney.

As part of the settlement, reached between the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Mothers on the Move, a South Bronx community group, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the City has agreed to conduct an independent evaluation to establish if any odors are emanating from the Hunts Point sewage plant, stop shipment of sewage sludge to NYOFCo for at least two years, require that any new sewage sludge processing facilities use best available odor control technology, and to clean up an acre of waterfront green space for future community use.

Today’s settlement resolves claims against New York City and the Department of Environmental Protection (but not NYOFCo) in a public and private nuisance action filed in State Supreme Court in July 2007 by NRDC on behalf of Mothers on the Move and ten South Bronx residents who complained for years of wide-ranging health and quality of life problems associated with sewage odors and fumes in their neighborhood.

“The closure of NYOFCo is the realization of years of organizing and activism in Hunts Point and a much needed breath of fresh air for a community that has been stuck indoors for far too long due to the stench of local sewage plants,” said Wanda Salaman, Executive Director of Mothers on the Move.

“As a result of DEP Commissioner Cas Holloway’s willingness to work with our clients to come up with this practicable and sensible resolution to a long-standing dispute, New York City residents can now have faith that sludge treatment operations, wherever they take place in the city, will now be held to the highest of standards,” said Eric A. Goldstein, NRDC attorney.

The claims against the New York Organic Fertilizer Company (NYOFCo), which until this week was processing about half of the sewage sludge produced by the city’s 14 sewage treatment plants and which has been a long-time source of noxious odors in the Hunts Point neighborhood, remain outstanding and could be revived should the NYOFCo facility ever resume operations.


As part of the settlement agreement, the City -- which had recently announced that it was cancelling its sludge processing contract with NYOFCo for fiscal reasons -- is agreeing to end shipments of sewage sludge to the NYOFCo plant for at least two years, absent emergency circumstances and even then only where no feasible alternative exists. In the unlikely event of a continuing emergency, the NYOFCo plant, should it be reopened, would be required to install state-of-the-art odor controls.

With respect to the nearby Hunts Point sewage treatment plant -- the second facility at issue in the litigation, which treats sewage waste from over 600,000 Bronx residents -- the City is agreeing to commission by December 2010 an independent study to identify sources of any odors that may be emanating from this facility and to take cost-effective steps to remediate such odors.

The City is also agreeing, for the first time ever, to require any facility, in any neighborhood, that might receive a new contract to treat the city’s sewage sludge to use the best available technology and operating practices to control odorous emissions.

The City has also committed $500,000 in matching funds to help clean up a 1.2 acre parcel of waterfront land adjacent to Barretto Point Park, in anticipation of future use by the community of that property as an urban farm or for recreational purposes.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.3 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.

Mothers on the Move / Madres en Movimiento (MOM) organizes working class
and low-income people of color in the South Bronx to take strategic
leadership in campaigns to transform both our communities and ourselves,
to build and share power in society. MOM members engage in campaign work
through three committees: Environmental Justice, Housing Justice and Youth on the Move (Education Justice).

Eric Goldstein, NRDC
Sweet taste of victory!
BX Stand UP!!
Sludge Cake - notice the incinerator smokestack!
Wanda Salaman & Thomas Assefa, MOM
Paul Lipson, Office of Congressman Jose Serrano
Plaintiff Cerita Parker, MOM
Kellie Terry-Sepulveda, The Point
Plaintiff Lydia Velez, MOM
Plaintiff Lucinda Ortiz, MOM

Plaintiff Fred Febre, MOM

DEP Deputy Commissioner

Plaintiff Lucretia Jones, MOM

Al Huang, NRDC

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Victory Press Conference!

Please join MOM tomorrow at 1pm at Barretto Point Park to celebrate the completion of our nuisance settlement with the DEP. This Summer will be the first in 18 years that Hunts Point area residents can hang out, play and enjoy the outdoors without smelling noxious odors.

MOM is extremely proud of the tireless work of the leaders of the Environmental Justice Committee, and in particular the plaintiffs in this lawsuit. We are also thankful to the organizational and individual allies who have supported this work and without whom it wouldn't have been possible - in particular we want to mention the legal support from Natural Resources Defense Council and local allies like The Point, HPMC and the Office of Congressman Jose Serrano.

Please join us to tell the world about this wonderful victory for the South Bronx!

What: VICTORY Press Conference for MOM's Clean Air Campaign!
When: Wed June 30, 1pm

eet at MOM office at Noon to carpool
Where: Barretto Point Park

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