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SLUDGE VICTIMS

May 2001 update - compiled by Helane Shields - prepared for WWW by ESRA

Subject: BEHUN, UMWA and RUSH TOWNSHIP SYNOPSIS
Date: November 26, 2001
From: Len Martin

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November 1999 - Because of national exposure (article published in Time Magazine, October 4, 1999 - Vol. 154 No. l4) PA DEP initiated their second attempt at investigating the death of Tony Behun. Centers for Disease Control (CDC/NIOSH) employee Joseph Cocalis, P.E., DEE, CIH reviewed the abstract of Tony's death and made these statements to Time Magazine which appeared in the Oct. 4 article; "The problem, Cocalis says, is that Class-B sludge is "biologically active" when dumped. The EPA places a 30-day restriction on public access, but pathogens can survive much longer. And surrounding dumps with earth mounds won't keep out trespassers like Tony Behun, 11, who died after riding his bike through sludge in Osceola Mills, Pa. Nor will they keep toxic gases or wind-borne pathogens from reaching high-risk residents -- infants, the elderly and the immune-system compromised." reference

November 9,1999 - Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) investigators Robert Abernethy and Tony Martinelli from the Office of Chief Counsel, Bureau of Investigations, Williamsport, PA showed up at Brenda (Behun) Robertson, Tony's mother's home at 5:20PM. Abernethy flashed his badge and said he was from PA DEP. >One of the first questions that investigator Abernethy asked Brenda was; "Did Tony play in the creek?" - Robertson; "No, I know the water was no good". - Abernethy; "We just found that out 2 weeks ago." - Robertson; "We would cross the creek on our bikes. Tony lived here for 9 years and nothing happened. The creek doesn't look good on your (DEP) part." - Brenda said Mr. Abernethy hung his head. After DEP had questioned Tony's mother it was learned from an employee of the state (who is a relative of the DEP investigator) that PA DEP was contemplating using a theory that raw sewage from a creek and/or a chipmunk bite was responsible for Tony's death. Unlike DEP's bee sting theory (which they later retracted and apologized for spreading), these two myths were never used by DEP in their May 12, 2000 report. Presently, entities profiting from the land application of sludge are now stating Tony died from riding through a sizable stream which was possibly contaminated with improperly treated sewage discharges. First of all, the creek DEP is referring to is not even remotely close to Tony's residence and the size of the creek is so small (1 to 2 feet across, tops) you could compare it to a ditch not a stream. Secondly, Tony wasn't anywhere near this creek for months prior to his illness and death, he wasn't bitten by a chipmunk or stung by a bee. Tragically the truth is, he unexplainably died shortly after being severely exposed to Class B sludge.

May 3, 2000 - Wheelabrator Water Technologies Inc., BioGro Division took Rush Township to the Pennsylvania State Court seeking special relief against Rush's ordinances. In an attempt to have the case heard in State Court it appears BioGro included PA DEP (Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection) as a defendant. The State Court Judge ruled "DEP was not a defendant in this case, therefore the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania does not have jurisdiction over a Township" and moved the hearing to Centre County Court. NO. 189 M.D. 2000
;PA DEP requested that it specifically be dismissed as a party to the case and on May 31st 2000 the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania granted PA DEP's request.

May 12, 2000 - Two PA DEP investigators forced Tony's mother to accept a copy of their report entitled "Report on the Investigation into the Application of Biosolids at the Al Hamilton Mountain Top Mine Site and the Death of Tony Behun" signed by DEP Secretary, James M. Seif. ;The investigators told Brenda if she did not accept a copy of the report she would find it in her mail box. Tony's father found his copy that same night shoved in his mailbox without any postmarks on it. Why was it so important for Tony's parents to receive a copy of this report in such a hurry? Because it was to be used just days later in Harrisburg, PA at a one sided House Appropriation hearing on sludge.

May 17, 2000 - State Rep. Camille "Bud" George said "a one-sided House hearing today was an attempt to mask the state's deception and incompetence surrounding sludge and the death of an 11-year-old boy." : HARRISBURG SLUDGE HEARING MASKS DECEPTION BEHIND BOY'S DEATH;


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