IBM says its not solely responsible for contamination

OCT. 10–ENDICOTT, NY– Residents here met with lawyers to discuss the latest developments in their lawsuit against IBM Corp., and lawyers representing residents in their case against the computer giant say they have proof the village’s toxic plume is more extensive than the company has claimed.

Rochester lawyers and lawyers from environmental advocate Erin Brockovich’s firm in California have set up plans to represent 200 Endicott residents. There are documents from an IBM consultant in 1980 that lawyers say prove IBM knew contamination contained more than just the 4,000 gallon spill.

Attorney Stephen Schwarz says the variety of solvents involved, including benzene, contradict IBM’s claim that they are not solely responsible. There are also two petition drives intended for the state attorney general. One asks him to push IBM for a property value protection plan, which the company has refused to do. The other asks to raise the classification of the site.

Resident leaders say the state department of environmental conservation will bring the needed paprwork at their next monthly meeting with residents. Schwarz expects to file suit in Broome County Supreme Court by the end of 2003.

The Environmental Protection Agency is also getting even more involved in the cleanup of IBM chemical contamination. Congressman Maurice Hinchey met with an EPA official on Wednesday and said he has secured a commitment from the agency to examine the work being done in Endicott. Hinchey said he made the case that Endicott residents are not getting enoguh information or assistance from state agencies.


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