Call for Complete Clean Up of Onondaga Lake

Syracuse NY -- On Wednesday July 22nd, Green Party candidates for Syracuse City Council Frank Cetera, 2nd District which includes the Lakefront and the Inner Harbor, and Lance Denno, At-Large, attended the “Clean Lake Party in the Lake” where many public figures signed up to dive into Onondaga Lake from a pontoon boat launched at Willow Bay in Liverpool.  The swim, organized by Believe in Syracuse, was required to take place from a boat due to the continued presence of sediment contamination and lack of a swimming beach, and was required to be on the north side of the lake due to sewage contamination from overflow on the south end.

“I believe in Syracuse and commend the environmentalists and engineers working to clean up the contamination from Syracuse’s industrial past,” stated Cetera. “However, we cannot forget that the lake is still not clean and there is significant dredging and remediation that needs to happen. As it stands, we cannot rely on an incomplete cleanup and a lack of fail-safe caps to cover the remaining pollutants in the sediment. We need proper funding and priority attention to repair and maintain sewage infrastructure so that it does not overflow into Onondaga Lake.We also need a halt to all the industrial hazards that threaten the lake, such as the Bakken crude oil trains that pass through CNY, along the lake several time a week.”  Cetera has been outspoken about the dangers of crude oil transport and potential derailments adjacent to the lake.

Cetera decided not to join the lake swim out of respect for the need to continue the cleanup.

Denno expressed frustration with the years of clean-up and the need for the cleanup in the first place, saying “It's easier if you don't break it in the first place, instead of having to clean up what has been polluted.  Just look at Skaneateles Lake--what future for Onondaga Lake would you want?”  Denno sees the lake issue as a metaphor for the atmosphere, and concerns about climate change.

Both candidates agree that we must not only think of the need to fully finish the cleanup of Onondaga Lake as an environmental mission and a return to the Onondaga Nation’s cultural heritage, but also for economic and social justice reasons.

Cetera stated that he would not be satisfied until the lake is “back to a condition which privileges all people in the City and adjoining municipalities, not just those who have a boat to jump off of at Willow Bay to go swimming.”

Both candidates will appear on the Green Party line (Row D of the General Election ballot on Tuesday November 3rd, along with Howie Hawkins for City Auditor and Board of Education candidates Ray Blackwell and Caleb Duncan.  For more information:

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