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Mohawks weigh in on river cleanup

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MASSENA — The federal government should take its time as it selects a cleanup option for the Grasse River, according to a St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council official.

Jacob C. Terrance said he understood Sen. Charles E. Schumer’s call for “fast tracking” the proposed cleanup of the Grasse River but didn’t necessarily agree with it. He works as the Alcoa Superfund Oversight specialist for the tribe’s Environmental Division.

Mr. Terrance said he and other tribal government officials were not invited to Wednesday morning’s press conference at Alcoa West, but he heard about it in time to attend.

“I understand where Senator Schumer is coming from, seeing the bureaucracy and red tape slowing things down,” he said. “I would rather see EPA choose wisely than hurry up and make a big mistake down the line.”

The tribal government is serving as a consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency as it selects one of 10 Grasse River cleanup options. The EPA will make the final decision on the several-mile cleanup which Alcoa has already agreed to fund. Those options range from doing nothing to nearly $1 billion in remediation.

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