Neighbors intend to file suit, GHS costs will continue to rise

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorThis letter was written to the town’s Board of Estimate and Taxation and is being reprinted at the author’s request. It has been edited to meet word count requirements.

 

To the Editor

After AECOM “shuts down” Greenwich High School on July 1, it’s  unlikely it will ever re-open and the BET will have to budget additional funds, far in excess of what has been requested.

The Clean Water Act includes the ability of private citizens to sue in federal and state courts after giving 60 days notice of intent to sue. Please treat this as a formal intent to sue letter filed by me and my neighbors to keep GHS closed until all terms of the TSCA Permit have been met, a standard we believe to be impossible, and proved.

There are roughly 5,000 high school age students in Greenwich entitled to public education. Since there is not enough time to build new schools, it is likely Greenwich will be forced to give each high school age student a $20,000 private school voucher each year until new schools are built. This will cost town taxpayers $100,000,000 a year.

PCB remediation will probably cost in excess of a billion dollars and neighboring properties will have to be tested and remediated. All remediation must be completed inside hermetically sealed construction areas by workers in full protective clothing. Damages, both medical and property, will certainly run to more than another billion dollars.

New high schools can be built for $25-50 million each — with or without additional $50 million auditoriums.

Assuming three years to plan, permit and build new schools on an expedited basis, plus remediation and damages; forgetting fines (which theoretically could reach another billion dollars a year) and legal costs the BET must immediately consider a multi-billion dollar GHS remediation fund.

Once in court, this matter cannot be dismissed without the consent of the aggrieved parties. Even if the town refuses to negotiate regarding this matter and neighbors lose on every point, the trials will take five to 10 years, during which Greenwich will find itself in contempt of court if it continues with current plans without first obtaining court approval.

The Clean Water Act requires me and my neighbors to negotiate with the town and regulatory agencies for at least 60 days prior to filing suit. All negotiations must be public.

I urge BET to immediately start making plans to fund what will surely be an enormous unanticipated expense.

 

Bill Effros
Greenwich

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