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New York State releases cleanup plans for former Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna

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Posted at 1:34 PM, Nov 24, 2021

LACKWANNA, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York State has released cleanup plans for the former Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna.

The state said the announcement of the final cleanup plans build on the progress already underway and it is estimated the remediation of the site will cost $69 million.

Construction to advance the cleanup plan is expected to begin in 2022, the state said it will address site-wide contamination and provide public access to Lake Erie for the first time in more than 100 years. Construction and remediation are expected to take up to seven years, you can find more information here.

My family worked at the Bethlehem Steel plant and I know first-hand what cleaning up the former site in Lackawanna means for the people who live here. Today marks a critical milestone in the rebirth of this city and this project is the perfect example of how New York State is rebuilding communities by putting former industrial sites like Bethlehem Steel to good use, helping transform neighborhoods, protecting the environment, and jumpstarting economic development.
- Governor Kathy Hochul

The statement of basis can be found on the DEC website here and represents what method was selected to address the site's cleanup and why it was chosen.

"The cleanup is designed to restore the former Bethlehem Steel property in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment. This sustainable restoration of the site advances DEC's goals of preserving, restoring, and connecting the natural resources and resiliency features of the Lake Erie shoreline. Remedial action plans (RAPs) will guide efforts that will be undertaken at the site. In addition to addressing contamination, the cleanup and subsequent habitat restoration work will provide public access to the waterfront for the first time in more than 100 years. The RAPs are required under the terms of the 2020 Order on Consent, a legal enforcement agreement between DEC, Tecumseh, and Tecumseh's former parent corporation, Arcelor Mittal USA, to comprehensively clean up the former site of Bethlehem Steel at an estimated cost of $69 million," a release says.

Tecumseh and ArcelorMittal, the companies that acquired the environmental liabilities of Bethlehem Steel after its bankruptcy, are legally required to:

  • Complete a comprehensive remediation program that includes cleanup and monitoring of 489 acres of the former Bethlehem Steel site nearest to the Lake Erie shoreline;
  • Provide closure and post-closure maintenance for the site, including financial assurances;
  • Reimburse New York State for costs incurred for oversight of the cleanup;
  • Support robust public participation and engagement in developing and implementing site cleanup plans;
  • Provide public access following cleanup to portions of the Lackawanna waterfront; and
  • Participate in a public/private partnership that will evaluate locations and designs to restore areas of Lackawanna's shoreline and improve habitat.