Golden defends Bayside Fuel in Gravesend oil spill debacle
In the wake of an oil spill that saw 27,000 gallons of oil seep into Brooklyn’s Gravesend Bay, and after Democratic lawmakers held a press conference near the site to blast state environmental officials, Republican state Sen. Marty Golden stepped forward to defend the company responsible for the incident.
Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn) said Bayside Fuel Oil responded quickly to the March 30 oil spill and is working with city, state and federal agencies on the cleanup.
“Bayside Fuel Oil takes full responsibility for the human error that led to this spill and will pay all expenses associated with the remediation. For almost 100 years, Bayside Fuel Oil Depot Corp. has a long history of job creation and economic activity here in Brooklyn. They have employed thousands of local men and women, generating millions of dollars in tax revenue and actively involved in community affairs. I am confident that Bayside Fuel Oil working with local environmental agencies will not only clean up the oil spill, but will also work to ensure the prevention of future accidents,” Golden said in a statement.
Golden cited media reports pointing to human error as the cause for the oil spill that took place on March 30 at approximately 2:30 a.m.
Bayside Fuel representatives contacted city, state and federal officials within two hours of the oil spill, Golden said.
But Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) and other lawmakers who held a press conference on April 7 near the oil spill site charged that local officials were not notified until several days after the accident.
“Let me be clear, Gravesend Bay and Coney Island Creek are not some toilet bowl for government or for private industry. I find it absolutely outrageous and unbecoming of an agency named the Department of Environmental Conservation that they have failed on all fronts to protect the environment and public health of this area and have failed to properly notify this community,” Brooklyndaily.com quoted Treyger as saying at the press conference.
Public Advocate Lettia James called on Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez to investigate the oil spill. Comptroller Scott Stringer stated that he will review the state’s procedures for notifying the public.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is directing the cleanup of the diesel fuel spill, according to a press release the agency issued.
The spill was the result of a tank overflow at the Bayside Fuel facility, DEC officials said.
The asphalt parking lot was pressure washed to remove oil that spilled into that area. Trenches were dug around the top of the mounded tanks and oil has been recovered through vacuuming, according to DEC. Soil on the shoreline of Gravesend Bay that has been impacted by the oil spill has been covered with plastic to minimize damage.
“While DEC is directing the responsible parties to undertake full and immediate cleanup, the state is thoroughly investigating this incident and will ensure these polluters are held accountable,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement.
DEC will hold the responsible party accountable for any environmental damages caused, and stiff penalties to address this issue are pending, officials said.
Anyone with information about the oil spill can contact the DEC Spills Hot Line at 1-800-457-7362.