State Sues Brooklyn Air Polluter

Attorney General Spitzer and state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner John Cahill today announced a lawsuit against a fabric dying plant in East Flatbush that is violating state clean air laws and fouling a residential neighborhood.

For two years, the Premier Color of N.Y. Inc. plant has been the subject of citizen complaints about persistent odors of burning rubber and of a blue haze that occasionally rises from the facility and settles over the area. The plant is located at 1466 Troy Ave., where it abuts a neighborhood of one- and two-family homes and a grammar school.

"It is unconscionable that neighborhood residents are essentially held prisoners in their homes because of noxious odors emitted by this plant," said Spitzer. "By complying with state environmental laws, the plant can continue operating and local neighbors would again be free to walk their streets and open their windows."

DEC Commissioner Cahill said: "This facility's complete disregard for state environmental laws and the public has mandated aggressive enforcement action to safeguard the community. We will continue to work cooperatively with the Attorney General's office to pursue environmental polluters and ensure that New York residents enjoy clean air, land and water."

During the fabric dying process at Premier Color, gases from volatile organic chemicals are released and escape from the plant. The DEC ordered the company to develop a plan to identify the source of odors and eliminate them. To date, however, the only plan submitted by Premier Color was inadequate.

A lawsuit was filed April 18 in Brooklyn Supreme Court, charging that Premier Color is a public nuisance and is violating state clean air laws. The suit seeks to close the plant until Premier Color installs appropriate pollution control technology. Premier Color is due in court on April 27 to argue why the plant should not be temporarily shut down.

Spitzer and Cahill acknowledged the work done by State Assemblyman N. Nick Perry and his staff, and the cooperation of neighborhood residents who alerted officials to the problems at the plant.

"I am pleased to learn of this action by the Attorney General," said Assemblyman Perry. "The more than two years of exposure to what we now know are toxic pollutants demands that the plant be shut down immediately. On behalf of the families I represent, I join the Attorney General in urging the court to expeditiously grant the motion to shut down this health hazard in our community."

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Gregory Nolan and John Gibson of the Attorney General's Environmental Protection Bureau in cooperation with DEC Assistant Regional Attorney Gail Hintz and Environmental Engineers Eric Fifolt and Robert Mitrey.