New furor over 9/11 EPA blasted for nixing cleanup
By HUGH SON
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Despite the smoke and debris that blanketed Brooklyn after the Sept. 11 attacks, a high-ranking federal official said “it wasn’t apparent” Kings County got enough toxic dust to warrant a cleanup.
The Environmental Protection Agency ditched plans last week to include Brooklyn in a test-and-cleanup program for contaminants from the smoldering World Trade Center site.
“We’re going to go back to only those areas with clear visual or probable evidence that there was dust,” said EPA official Timothy Oppelt, interim chairman of an expert panel charged with overseeing the cleanup.
After elected officials protested, a 30-building Brooklyn survey had been included in May as part of the plan – but the EPA withdrew after it couldn’t agree with experts on a way to distinguish World Trade Center toxins from regular pollution.
“It’s not saying there couldn’t have been light amounts of dust in other areas,” Oppelt told the Daily News, “but our view is we need to focus on areas where there is a lot of dust.”