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Post date: June 23 2000

Judge Orders Shut Down Of Brooklyn Fabric Plant That Fouled Brooklyn Neighborhood

Attorney General Spitzer and State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner John Cahill today announced that a judge has ordered the shutdown of a fabric dying plant in East Flatbush. A lawsuit brought by Spitzer charged that the plant has been violating state clean air laws and has become an odor nuisance to the surrounding community. The plant is to end operations next Tuesday.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice David B. Vaughan enjoined Premier Color of New York from continuing operations at the plant, located at 1466 Troy Avenue in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, until permanent odor control measures are implemented. Over the years, the plant has been the subject of numerous complaints from nearby residents. They have complained of the smell of strong burning chemical odors and a blue smokey haze emitted by the plant which sometimes settles over the neighborhood.

"We are pleased that the Court recognizes that neighborhood residents are entitled to protection from the noxious odors emitted by this plant," Attorney General Spitzer said. "Effective enforcement of environmental laws against polluters is vital if New York residents are to remain free to walk their streets, enjoy their back yards, and open their windows for fresh air."

Commissioner Cahill said, "Premier Color has become an odor nuisance by failing to take steps to control its air emissions and comply with state environmental laws. The court's decision to shut down the plant's operations will result in cleaner air and once again allow nearby residents to enjoy the use of their property."

During the fabric dying process, gases from various chemical compounds are released and escape the plant. Last fall, the DEC had ordered the company to develop a plan to identify the source of odors associated with this process and eliminate them, but the company submitted an inadequate plan which the DEC rejected.

In April the Attorney General's office filed suit against the company for violating state clean air laws and sought to close the plant until Premier Color installed appropriate pollution control technology. In May, the A.G. obtained a court order requiring the installation of temporary measures that company officials asserted would eliminate the odors. However, the measures taken during by the company during the past two months have been ineffective.

The court accepted evidence offered by the Attorney General that the foul odor and haze make it impossible for people in the neighborhood to use their yards for gardening or relaxation, or even to open windows for fresh air. The court also rejected Premier Color's request to be allowed to continue to operate while the company installed permanent odor control equipment, a process that would not have been completed for several months.

Spitzer and Cahill acknowledged the work done by State Assemblyman N. Nick Perry and his staff, and the cooperation of the citizens of Brooklyn who have spoken up and come forward to help correct this problem.

Assemblyman Perry, who has worked on the issue for years said, "My constituents and I are extremely pleased with the court's action. Hopefully, this decision will withstand the expected appeal by the company. For several years, Premier Color has operated unlawfully, polluting the community and jeopardizing the health of residents with the emission of dangerous chemicals. We do not know the extent of the damage that has been done, but the court's action will bring relief and put an end to the poisoning of the constituents by a business operated with no consideration for the health of the community."

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