Entries in Clean Up (3)


Occupy Wall Street Protesters Can Stay Put: Park Clean-Up Postponed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Friday's scheduled cleaning of New York City's Zuccotti Park, where Occupy Wall Street protesters have been gathered for a month, has been canceled.

Brookfield Properties, the owners of the park, sent a letter Thursday night to Caswell Holloway, the city's deputy mayor for operations, saying they "have decided to postpone the cleaning operation for Zuccotti Park" that was scheduled for Friday at 7 a.m.

Ric Clark, the CEO of Brookfield Office Properties, said they will defer the cleaning "for a few days while we attempt to work out an arrangement with the protesters."

On Thursday, in advance of the scheduled cleaning, protesters took to Facebook and Twitter, asking people to “donate or purchase brooms, mops, squeegees, dust pans, garbage bags, power washers and any other cleaning supplies.”

The group vowed to stay in the park and said they would try to prevent the cleaning crews from entering.

“Friday morning, we’ll awake and position ourselves with our brooms and mops in a human chain around the park, linked at the arms,” the group posted on its Facebook page.  “If NYPD attempts to enter, we’ll peacefully, non-violently stand our ground, and those who are willing will get arrested.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Meth Labs Multiply as Cleanup Dollars Shrink

Hermera Technologies/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Last year, Sheriff Joe Guy's department busted 161 meth labs in McMinn County in eastern Tennessee -- at an average cost to the federal government of $3,250 per lab. This year, he's expecting at least as many labs as in 2010, but there's no federal cleanup money this time around.

Just as it's getting easier for users to make methamphetamine, federal budget cuts are making it harder for authorities to dispose of meth labs' toxic leftovers.

After losing the millions of dollars they once used to clean up the battery acid, starting fluid, anhydrous ammonia and other hazardous chemicals used in meth's manufacture, local law enforcement agencies across the country are scrambling to find money for lab disposal.

Until the end of February, the Drug Enforcement Administration paid for lab cleanup through a large grant from the Justice Department's Community Oriented Policing Services. The DEA provided $19.2 million to states and local agencies for the disposal of more than 10,000 labs last year. But now, the grant is exhausted, and the proposed federal budget doesn't include any funding to replenish it.

With no wiggle room in their budgets, agencies around the country are begging legislators and county commissioners for money for lab cleanup. But with budget pressures at every level of government, local law officers said they realize they may have to fill the funding void with money from their own departments' budgets. They're just wondering how they're going to do it.

Because the "one-pot" or "shake-and-bake" method makes it easier -- and more dangerous -- for individual abusers to make the drug themselves, the number of labs is climbing. The 10,393 labs that DEA paid to dispose of last year was a 38-percent increase from the year before, and 12,500 or more are expected in 2011.

To combat the growing number of labs, at least 10 states have considered legislation this year that would make pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in meth and cold and allergy medications, harder to get, either by tracking purchases so individuals can't buy in bulk or by making the medication prescription only. But the prescription-only laws have met stiff resistance from lobbying groups who say the legislation would be burdensome for innocent allergy sufferers, and the measures have already failed in several states.

For now, even amid the financial concerns, law enforcement officers say cutting back on lab busts is not an option. But law enforcement can't afford to pay for lab cleanup and continue to conduct business as usual, said Chuck Lange, executive director of the Arkansas Sheriffs Association. Departments "might have to lay people off," he said.

There may be help from the Environmental Protection Agency, which has a program to reimburse local governments for responding to environmental hazards, meth labs included. But they must meet certain eligibility requirements, and funding is limited.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Winter Snowstorm Slams Into Northeast

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The winter storm that snarled travel across the Southeast arrived in the Northeast late Tuesday after combining with snow from the Midwest.

It is the third storm to slam into the region in less than three weeks.

As of Wednesday morning, every state in the continental U.S. had snowfall or snow on the ground, with the exception of Florida.

New York City declared a weather emergency Tuesday to avoid the criticism the city received for its slow response to clear the roads after the blizzard last month.  New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged emergency crews would be ready this time.  A much more aggressive approach included 1,700 plows and 365 salt trucks that were out in full force Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

In Long Island, the area could get up to 20 inches with whiteout conditions and 35 mile an hour winds.

Over in Boston, officials declared a severe snow emergency and will be under a blizzard warning from 2 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday.  Public school classes have also been canceled as a precaution.

Rhode Island government officials are urging all state employees to stay home.

In Philadelphia, snow totals reached five inches and in central New Jersey, about eight inches have fallen by early Wednesday morning. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio