More pollution in Broome County

I just finished reading through this article on the CNY Ecoblog and I thought the topic was important enough to export to this blog, especially considering the submission I just posted.

IBM was founded in the Village of Endicott just downriver from my hometown (Johnson City) and thrived there for many years before finally pulling out the last of its operations about 6 years ago. One of the many perks that IBM employees were given was use of the IBM Country Club. This property is still a country club today and is particularly precious as one of the last large undeveloped (if you consider a golf course undeveloped...) tracts in the Town of Union. It is a nice green break between the communities of Johnson City and Endwell.

In the hills above this property is an area known as "The Glen," a fantastic gorge filled with waterfalls and majestic old-growth trees. For generations, locals have traveled to this place (long before IBM owned it) and enjoyed the last old growth in the area. At one time, old growth oaks spread across the Town of Union, in fact the massive keel of the USS Monitor (the Civil War ironclad) was cut from the area that is today the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City (which is where “Oakdale” get its name… no oaks there now).

Today only the Glen is left. A few years ago (6 I believe) when IBM was pulling out of the region, they were attempting to squeeze as much value out of the land as they could and scheduled the last of the oaks for logging. I participated in a number of street protests that led up to Waterman Conservation Center being given the title to the land in perpetuity.

I was greatly saddened tonight when I read that IBM buried considerable polluted material in the Glen. It’s a shame to see in their greed and ignorance they left their scars upon that beautiful place. I guess it goes to show that corporations, even the ones we consider benevolent, have only one value when the chips are down: the dollar. However, I suppose that Waterman, an excellent organization, is the best possible owner of this precious local gem and will find the best course considering modern recovery abilities and local resources.

-Posted by Jesse


Al Z. said...

I wholeheartedly agree that these are important issues. I posted on a similar, recent logging situation that did not end so well.

Logging effort criticized.

My open-ended conclusion: "Its easy to see how narrow economic thinking leads to the decision to forgo preservation for short-term gain. The difficulty lies with accounting for preservation within a broader economic framework."

Russell said...

Just to correct IBM still employ's about 1200 people in Endicott. The event 6 years ago which I believe you are referring to was when IBM sold the buildings to the Huron people. They now lease them from that organization.