Syracuse, NY – Frank Cetera, the Green Party candidate running for 2nd District Councilor, added his voice to the opposition of plans to operate a scrap metal facility at the former Roth Steel yard along Onondaga Lake. Cetera and the Green Party have long advocated for public waterfront access and inclusionary residential zoning and will continue to do so, regardless of who is behind the new group Coalition for Onondaga Lake.
“Onondaga Lake is a precious natural resources and I will always advocate for its complete cleanup,” said Cetera. “Any new Inner Harbor and Lake District development should include affordable housing for people with low to moderate incomes. And any development that receives tax breaks or public funding should be required to hire local residents, such as through community benefit agreements as advocated by the Urban Jobs Task Force.”
“Once elected to City Council, I will work with established environmental groups, including Neighbors Of the Onondaga Nation and Citizens Campaign for the Environment, to continue the important work of improving the lake’s health, and public access in the area,” added Cetera. “Regarding the recently formed Coalition for Onondaga Lake, I find the tactics being used, and the working relationship this rather mysterious group has with the county executive's recent chief of staff, to present an unclear picture in regard to their motives.”
Both environmental justice and public safety, Cetera explained, are two primary concerns for him in his campaign for City Council (www.votecetera.org). He is running against incumbent Chad Ryan.
“Trains carrying Bakken crude and tar sands oil, colloquially known as 'bomb trains,' are passing through our city and the 2nd district, along the lake shore and within yards of Destiny USA, the Regional Market, and the Regional Transportation Center several times a week,” Cetera said. “These oil tanker cars are not safe at any speed should a derailment occur, and should not be operating anywhere near such densely populated areas, and treasures such as Onondaga Lake.”
Similar to other municipalities in the state, Cetera pledged to pursue a Syracuse City Council resolution calling on the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation to ban these “bomb trains” from traveling through Syracuse.
In the first three months of 2015 there were four accidents involving trains transporting Bakken crude oil. In May the derailed Amtrak train in Philadelphia came within 50 yards of striking a Conrail train carrying crude oil. In 2013 a bomb train derailment in Quebec resulted in an enormous explosion and 47 deaths.
Sen. Chuck Schumer spoke last month to the media, using a crude oil train in Syracuse's 2nd District as a backdrop, about the need to quickly phase out older tanker cars because of known safety flaws. Cetera has insisted that simply phasing out the older cars does not go far enough in protecting the public.
As a Green Party candidate, Cetera does not accept any campaign contributions from corporations.