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Lawyers Sue Verizon Again Over Contaminated Nuclear Waste Site in New York

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Newsday article today details yet another lawsuit against Verizon for cancers and other life threatening diseases caused by Verizon’s contaminated nuclear waste property in Hicksville, New York.  It was just a few years ago that Verizon paid out a multi-million dollar settlement to residents in the surrounding area over their increased rates of cancer.  Incredibly, despite their previous settlement with surrounding residents, they state in today’s article that the property is not a health hazard!!!  They must be kidding!!!  Thankfully, at least the newest lawsuit is in front of federal District Court Judge Leonard Wexler, a no nonsense jurist who presided over the previous settlement.  Judge Wexler knows where the skeletons were buried by Verizon.

Perhaps Verizon should review the most recent United States Army Corp of Engineers report  before issuing such silly press releases.  Perhaps they should tell this to Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Pete King who both have pledged recently to aid in the cleanup. Perhaps they should tell this to the New York Workers’ Compensation Board which has already ruled favorably for two workers on the Verizon site.  By denying the obvious, Verizon is besmirching its once good name and entering the "ENRON" class of corporate responsibility.

Does Verizon have no shame? What about Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg? How many more victims have to contract cancer due to Verizon’s contaminated nuclear property before they accept responsibility for the nuclear and other toxins on the Hicksville site?  Perhaps they have made a cold calculated business decision that its cheaper to pay off a few hundred cancer victims than it is to clean up there own property.   Anyone ever heard of the Ford Pinto casesWhatever Verizon’s motivations, you can be sure they have more to do with shareholder returns than the health of Long Islanders.

However, assuming Verizon is first and foremost profit motivated, wouldn’t it make good financial sense to be a good neighbor as they roll out their FIOS service across Long Island? After all, who would want to buy anything from a known corporate polluter?  Step up and do the right thing – perhaps you will be embraced by residents of Nassau and Suffolk counties looking for an alternative to Cablevision.  Fight to the death (literally) like Magazine Distributors, and I can’t think of one New York resident who would want to sign up for FIOS service  (check out how healthy the workers in the FIOS video look) if they knew their monthly bills went to fight cancer victims.  

Much like Ground Zero workers, the men and women who worked directly on top of this acknowledged nuclear waste site will be getting sick for years to come.  The time has come for Verizon and Ivan Seidenberg to "do the right thing".  Don’t count your chickens just yet.  Verizon even fights its own workers’ 9/11 related cancer claims!  Anyone have Michael Moore’s phone number? Those are my thoughts – what do you think?

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