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Environmentalists, Lawmakers Slam Grumman Over Toxic Plume 'Coverup'

Historic Grummand Corp Sign
Frank Eltman

The defense manufacturer Grumman knew for decades that its facility was contaminating the groundwater in Bethpage and neighboring Long Island communities. 

A Newsday investigation revealed documents that show the company misrepresented its findings to the public.

Adrienne Esposito, executive director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment, says the people responsible for the contamination, including Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy, refused to act for nearly five decades. 

“This should really be a criminal offense. Let’s be honest here, they allowed the public to drink contaminated water for decades. The U.S. Navy and Grumman feel they are above the law. They feel they are entitled, they feel a sense their actions should not be scrutinized. And that’s how the public gets hurt.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo called it “outrageous” and says the state will continue to try to contain the toxic plume while it goes after Grumman and the Navy to clean up the contamination.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand blasted the company and the Navy for its “coverup.”

U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice called Grumman’s behavior “shameful” and says she will do everything in her power to hold Grumman and the Navy responsible.

New York State says the cleanup will cost more than half a billion dollars. Officials say if the Navy and Northrop Grumman don’t pay, they will take them to court.

Grumman manufactured jet airplanes for the Navy at the site for over 40 years.

Terry Sheridan is a Peabody-nominated, award-winning journalist. As Senior Director of News and Education, he developed a unique and award-winning internship program with the Stony Brook University School of Communications and Journalism, where he is also a lecturer and adjunct professor. He also mentors graduate fellows from the Sacred Heart University Graduate School of Communication, Media and the Arts.
Jay Shah is a former Long Island bureau chief at WSHU.
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