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City environmental chief Joel Miele sharpened his pen last week and jabbed at City Limits for reporting on the Hudson Riverkeeper's withering analysis of city efforts to protect the water supply. (See City Limits Weekly #94).

In a three-page letter, Miele attacked Riverkeeper attorney Robert Kennedy Jr.'s scathing 1996 report on Department of Environmental Protection mismanagement. “DEP has been vigorously protecting its watershed,” Miele writes. “In fact, DEP has 55 positions in its water supply police department, with 45 officers who regularly patrol the reservoirs and watersheds.”

Miele also defends DEP's decision to work with corporate polluters instead of punishing them “whenever facilities may temporarily fail to operate perfectly.”

Kennedy, who said the Miele missive “seems deliberately disingenuous,” countered with the following stats: “Of the 45 officers cited by the commissioner, nine are still in the police academy while 33 of the remaining 36 are detailed for gatehouse security and are not involved in pollution patrol.”

And according to an internal DEP report on upstate sewage treatment facilities that Kennedy located, the agency's leniency program is flawed. “Of the 70 plants in [DEP's own] report, 29 (41 percent) exhibited chronic discharge problems that went unabated for at least three years,” Kennedy writes.

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