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Recent Agency Press Releases

BLM Announces Decision to Build Replica of Eye of the Needle Arch

EPA Acts to Protect Public Health Through Superfund at Abandoned Site in Trenton, N.J.

Justice Department Offers Guidance on Preventing Hate Crimes

Friday September 12, 1997

Source: Bureau of Land Management

BLM Announces Decision to Build Replica of Eye of the Needle Arch

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LEWISTOWN, Mont., Sept. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- After extensive deliberation and public consultation, Chuck Otto has decided that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will endorse building a replica of the Eye of the Needle in Fort Benton, Montana, but will leave the remains of the original Eye.

The preferred location for the replica is along the levee of the Missouri River in the town of Fort Benton. A replica will complement the river, be more visible and move towards healing from this tragic event. Once the replica is complete and the public has a chance to look at it, the replica will be assessed. If found to meet criteria for being maintenance free and visually, erosionally and geologically identical to the original, the BLM may again consider rebuilding the original Eye of the Needle.

Chuck Otto, the BLM's Judith Resource Area Manager, made the announcement today.

The Eye of the Needle, a popular 11-foot sandstone arch on the Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River (UMNWSR) about 56 miles downstream from Fort Benton, was destroyed by vandals sometime between May 25 and May 27.

The incident brought much local, state and national attention to the issue of vandalism of public resources.

``I've never worked with a public land issue that brought such a quick public reaction. Our office has received literally hundreds of calls and comments concerning the Eye of the Needle in the past 10 weeks. Everyone I talked with was truly offended that something like this would happen along the UMNWSR and many had good suggestions about how BLM should manage the remains of the Needle,'' Otto said.

These suggestions and ideas were the subjects of public meetings in July and a public comment period that extended into August. After the public comment period, three alternatives (building a replica at the original site; building a replica in Fort Benton; or not rebuilding at any location) were then analyzed in an environmental assessment (EA).

The assessment helped BLM analyze the three alternatives in terms of public comments, legal restraints, and a sense of the practical.

Because of the tremendous national and local interest in the Eye of the Needle, the BLM is trying to use the event as an educational message regarding vandalism of public resources. To do so, BLM is sponsoring a scholarship competition. The competition requires that Montana high school seniors create a design using the Eye of the Needle as a focal point for encouraging everyone to further a sense of appreciation, pride and responsibility for our natural heritage and resources. The BLM will use the winning design in an educational message at the replica site.

Some of the funds for building a replica of the Eye of the Needle in Fort Benton may come from private sources, although no particular corporation would have a predominant interest. Community participation in the funding process would also be encouraged.

No start-up date for the project was given.

Those interested in a copy of the EA should contact the Judith Resource Area Manager, Box 1160, Airport Road, Lewistown, MT 59457.

Please visit the BLM's Home Page at www.blm.gov.

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EPA Acts to Protect Public Health Through Superfund at Abandoned Site in Trenton, N.J.

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NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 12, 1997--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed a $400,000 Superfund removal action this week at the abandoned Champale Manufacturing site at 1030 Lamberton Street in Trenton, N.J. The last of 13,000 gallons of corrosive chemical liquids at the former malt liquor and soft drink bottling facility were neutralized and safely discharged into the city's wastewater treatment system on Wednesday. The project, which began this May through the federal Superfund program, eliminated a potentially acute threat to public health and safety.

Trenton is looking into the redevelopment of the Champale site and is using a Brownfields grant for a multi-level assessment of the property, which includes a number of buildings on half a city block in a mixed industrial/residential community. Brownfields is an EPA program to revitalize abandoned or inactive industrial properties. The city intends to remove asbestos and non-hazardous debris from the buildings, and, ultimately demolish all of the buildings at the site.

``These actions will allow Trenton to put this valuable waterfront property to a much better use and one that will benefit the community,'' said EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox, who joined the Mayor, State and local officials in a visit to the site on Lamberton Street today.

``We worked very closely and effectively with Mayor Doug Palmer's office and city police, fire and public works departments throughout the course of the Champale action. Residents and nearby businesses were cooperative and showed a lot of patience. The cleanup went smoothly, even though it involved some challenging technical problems, including the safe removal of trapped ammonia and flammable oil from inside the refrigeration system. That aspect of the action alone took two weeks to accomplish.

``We applaud the city's goal of redeveloping the site and our cleanup certainly provides a running start in dealing with any environmental problems associated with it,'' Fox added.

In March, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) asked EPA to assess the Champale site for a possible Superfund action because of the numerous hazardous materials improperly stored inside and outside the deteriorated buildings on the nearly 2-acre property. EPA found an estimated 200 containers of various sizes abandoned on the site with mainly corrosive and flammable materials stored in them. Labels on drums revealed the presence of hazardous substances such as sulfuric acid, ammonium hydroxide, pentachlorophenol and naphthalene. The site was unsecured and there was evidence of vandalism and unauthorized public entry.

In May, EPA began providing 24-hour security at the Champale site and stabilizing efforts which included placing leaking barrels and containers in new drums. EPA conducted a thorough characterization of the chemical hazards at the site through sampling and analysis before completing arrangements for transport and the proper off-site disposal of the material.

The Champale cleanup on Lamberton Street is the latest in a number of successful federal Superfund removal actions in Trenton. In the last few years, EPA has cleaned up the Kramer site on North Olden Avenue in 1996; the Champale Laboratory on Centre Street and the Blakely Laundry on Montgomery Street in 1992 and Titan Lighting in 1991. This last action involved the safe removal of two trailers dumped on at Titan Lighting at 224 Lawlor Street that contained leaking drums filled with incompatible acids and flammable liquids.

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Justice Department Offers Guidance on Preventing Hate Crimes

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Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance; Office of Juvenile Justice

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Crimes motivated by hate can be very difficult for communities to investigate and prevent. To help jurisdictions prevent and deal with hate crimes, the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has released, ``A Policymaker's Guide to Hate Crimes,'' and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has released ``Healing the Hate: A National Bias Crime Prevention Curriculum for Middle Schools.''

BJA's ``Policymaker's Guide'' provides helpful insights to preventing, prosecuting and investigating hate crimes. OJJDP's ``Healing the Hate'' is a curriculum for middle and early high school-age students that stresses a combination of prejudice reduction and violence prevention strategies.

BJA and OJJDP are bureaus of the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs.

``Hate crimes affect almost every community in our country,'' said BJA Director Nancy Gist. ``Through our interaction with criminal justice officials, policymakers and citizens in the field, we have discovered how difficult these crimes can be for communities. We hope our monograph will equip them with the necessary skills to prevent hate crimes, and--when they occur -- find the perpetrator and assist the victims and community to heal.''

``Prejudice and violence are not natural, but learned behaviors,'' added OJJDP Administrator Shay Bilchik. ``If schools can intervene early, we can prevent youth from learning these behaviors, and teach them that diversity is a strength, not weakness.''

The recent surge in hate-related incidents of terrorism, the public's increased awareness of such incidences, and the concern over bias-motivated crimes led Attorney General Janet Reno to seek an assessment of laws and strategies designed to fight, gauge, and prevent bias-motivated offenses. Both documents are part of the Department's overall effort to meet this mandate.

BJA's ``Policymaker's Guide'' includes background on hate crime definitions, characteristics of hate crimes, arson at African-American churches and the public and federal response to them, legislation and litigation related to hate crimes, and strategies to deal with perpetrators of hate crimes. The monograph explains the scope and nature of the nation's hate crime problem and provides a general overview of the current responses to hate crimes by law enforcement authorities, civil rights groups and local, state, and federal government agencies.

OJJDP's ``Healing the Hate,'' which encourages interactive learning, is divided into 10 sections focusing on topics including the impact of hate crimes on their victims and the media's role in developing prejudice. The publication also spotlights recent hate crimes and examines different forms of institutionalized racism, such as the Holocaust, the ``ethnic cleansing'' in Bosnia, and ``Jim Crow'' segregation laws. Students involved in the programs suggested by the document perform dramatic presentations and develop community service projects.

The curriculum was developed by OJJDP through a grant to Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) in Newton, Massachusetts. After designing the curriculum, EDC tested it in middle schools in Massachusetts, New York and Florida. The U.S. Department of Education is distributing the curriculum to middle schools across the nation and has joined with the Justice Department in sponsoring this project. EDC is currently involved in conducting regional training using the curriculum.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports' (UCR) Hate Crimes 1995 indicates that preliminary figures show that 7,947 hate crime incidents were reported to the FBI during 1995--the most recent year for which data were available. This represents an increase of just over 2,000 incidents from 1994 when 5,932 hate crimes were reported to the FBI through the UCR.

To obtain a copy of ``A Policymaker's Guide to Hate Crimes,'' or ``Healing the Hate: A National Bias Crime Prevention Curriculum for Middle Schools,'' please contact the National Criminal Justice Reference Services at 1-800-851-3420. For additional information about BJA or OJJDP and their programs, visit their Web sites at:

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bja

and

http://www.ncjrs.org/ojjhome.htm - Delinquency Prevention

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