Monday, February 9, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg, Environmentalist, Part II

Almost a year ago--February 17, to be precise--our post was entitled "Mayor Bloomberg, Environmentalist". Circumstances lead us to the same topic.

Today's Metro NY reports:
Lead levels at an artificial-turf soccer field shut down in December were much higher than the city reported, exceeding EPA safety limits by as much as five times. The Parks Department now wants $40 million in federal stimulus aid to “reconstruct deteriorated and potentially hazardous” fields.

The city’s put 111 fields in parks since 1997, nearly all during the Bloomberg years. Health concerns have haunted the rubber fields, made from recycled tires, which have been found to contain not only lead but chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects. The City Council holds a hearing on a turf moratorium today.

The city began testing turf in late 2008. Last week, Parks said new tests of 94 fields “found no further evidence of elevated lead levels.” It refused Metro’s request for results.
Read further coverage here. By "reconstruct", the City doesn't mean replace these fields--which are not only dangerous, but also extraordinary reservoirs of heat in the summer--with grass. It means reconstruct with more crushed rubber tires, or something likely just as bad. See, for example, this article, according to which the City will replace a tire field in East Harlem with plastic-covered sand

And then there's last week encounter between the Mayor and Staten Island Chuck, the groundhog. The video shows the Mayor repeatedly giving Chuck an ear of corn and yanking it away from him. That's no way to treat an animal, and it's no wonder that eventually he bit the Mayor. But it's just what we'd expect from the Mayor, who seems to be burnishing his credentials for Secretary of the Interior in the next Republican administration. We understand the Mayor is revered on Wall Street, but his notion--and the notion of his flunky, Department of Recreation Commissioner Benepe-- of "green" seems to be limited to that adorned with a portrait, signature and serial number.

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