Air Date: Week of October 1, 1999
This week, facts about... trash crime. Fifteen years ago, the New York State Assembly conducted hearings on the state's garbage hauling industry which had become controlled by organized crime families. Some haulers were found to be illegally dumping toxic wastes into landfills.
CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood
CURWOOD: Fifteen years ago, New York lawmakers were digging up the dirt on trash crime. As chair of the state's environment committee, Assemblyman Maurice Hinchey led hearings which confirmed suspicions that much of the garbage hauling industry in New York City and the Hudson Valley was indeed controlled by organized crime.
By bribing public officials and intimidating competitors, the syndicate achieved a virtualand lucrative monopoly in waste disposal. The racketeers charged steep fees to dispose of toxic and hazardous waste, then mixed them with regular garbage and dumped them into landfills.
Assemblyman Hinchey resumed hearings several years later in Tuxedo, New York, after medical waste, an entire tanker trailer, and a brand new Lincoln Continental were discovered in the local dump.
Over the years, several mobsters have gone to jail for their trash crimes. In what at the time was called the nation's biggest environmental crime case, two New York men were convicted of dumping infectious waste and asbestos into a sensitive wetland on Staten Island, despite the murder of one witness, shot to death in front of his house before his scheduled testimony.
And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
P.O. Box 990007
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.
Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.
Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth