DOE Liability at Tonawanda, NY and LOOW/NFSS FUSRAP Sites
F.A.C.T.S' attorney successfully pursued in federal court several FOIA requests that had been stonewalled by the Department of Energy. One of these requests was for copies of the uranium production contracts that Linde Air Products Company (now Praxair) had with the Manhattan Engineer District and the AEC in the 1940s. Since DOE had not filled similar citizen requests at other FUSRAP sites, including the St. Louis, MO sites, it seemed likely that information contained in these contracts would prove useful in clearing up the DOE-initiated, politician-propagated confusion over who was legally responsible for the "FUSRAP" contamination at the Tonawanda Site.
Contrary to the position claimed for many years by DOE in numerous oral and written public statements, the Record of Negotiation section of the Manhattan Engineer District's uranium production contract No. W-7401-Eng-14 (November 16, 1942) with Linde unequivocally states:OWNERSHIP OF RAW MAT'LS, RESIDUES, BY-PRODUCTS, ETC.
Title to all raw materials, residues, and by products will remain with the U.S.A.
This contract provision clearly establishes federal ownership of, and liability for, all of the MED/AEC contamination present at the Tonawanda Site properties (see Tonawanda Site Overview for a discussion of how the other properties became contaminated).
It also establishes ownership of, and liability for, the Linde materials that were transferred to the Lake Ontario Ordnance Works/Niagara Falls Storage Site (LOOW/NFSS) site. This information may help John Syms' Somerset Group successfully prosecute its $25 million federal court action against DOE for loss of use of FUSRAP-contaminated acreage at this site. Perhaps a court award of this size will prompt DOE to finally take seriously its legal obligations to ensure that this and other FUSRAP properties are thoroughly decontaminated in accordance with state and federal guidelines.
It is hoped that the owners of other FUSRAP contaminated properties will bring legal actions against DOE to effect the removal of all above-guideline contamination from their properties. The deficient cleanup levels and illegal onsite dilution of wastes (in violation of DOE, NRC and state guidelines) currently being employed by the Army Corps at the Tonawanda, NY FUSRAP properties should be vigorously opposed by all responsible property owners.
NOTE: In October 2001 John Syms died in his office. His family continued the lawsuit against the federal government.