What follows is an excerpt from a letter sent by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health regarding Intro 650, a bill introduced into the New York City Council at the request of the mayor and with the support of the Speaker of the City Council.
"Intro 650 will require permits for the possession or use of any instruments which monitor chemical, biological or radiological contamination. The NYC Police Department has testified that the impetus for the bill came from the Department of Homeland Security. Intro 650 will give NYPD the power to authorize, deny, or delay any workplace or environmental sampling. We believe the bill, if enacted, will restrict, and could prevent altogether, independent environmental monitoring by unions, community organizations, and others, including university programs. We believe this would pose a significant threat to our civil liberties.
The stated purposed of the bill is to “reduce excessive false alarms and unwarranted anxiety." However, the bill’s proponents have presented no data to support the claim of "excessive false alarms," nor have they identified the types of alarms that are presumed to be excessive. No evidence has been presented to document "unwarranted anxiety." It is likely that no such data exist.
Had such legislation been in place on and after 9/11, the independent testing done by unions and community-based organizations could not have been legally conducted and what we now know about the contamination of Lower Manhattan would be limited. This same concern was addressed by other speakers at the hearing.
The bill is being opposed by a wide range of organizations including the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the New York City Central Labor Council, the United Federation of Teachers, Healthy Schools Network, West Harlem Environmental Action, and NYCOSH.
Attached please find a letter we are asking you to sign which we will submit to the City Council. Please send me your endorsement and indicate whether this is an organizational endorsement or whether we should list your name, title, and affiliation for identification purposes only. If you send your own letter to the City Council, could you please forward us a copy. Thank you. Time is of the essence.
Joel Shufro William Henning
Executive Director, NYCOSH Chair, NYCOSH"
_________ Yes, please add my name as a signatory to the enclosed letter.
Please email us back at firstname.lastname@example.org or Fax us at 212-227-9854
_________ Please designate that the name of the institution attached to my name is for identification purposes only.
_________ I will send a letter over my signature to the members of the City Council below and will send a copy to NYCOSH.
(Contact information for City Council members is available here: http://council.nyc.gov/html/members/members.shtml)
_________ I will do both.