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Forbes Is A Dirty, Stinking, Filthy Wasteland

December 11th, 2012 · 18 Comments · Analysis and Comment, News and Events

Talk about distortion. It would be nice if Christopher Helman of Forbes could get it right. In issuing the list of “America’s 20 dirtiest cities,” Helman, writing on behalf of Forbes, ranks Bridgeport number 4, claiming “Raymark Industries site manufactured car parts and asbestos and filled in wetlands by dumping toxic waste on them.” Gee, last we all checked accurately Raymark polluted Stratford. Here’s what the geniuses at Forbes wrote:

4. Bridgeport, Conn.

Despite being in one of the nation’s richest states, much of Bridgeport remains blighted. For decades the Raymark Industries site manufactured car parts and asbestos and filled in wetlands by dumping toxic waste on them. The EPA has been removing lead, asbestos, arsenic and dioxins for 20 years. Sperling Air Quality Index: 8 Sperling Water Quality Index: 32

Forbes polluted this information into twisted logic by soiling specific cities based on geographic area. Raymark did its dirty deeds in Stratford, yet Bridgeport gets the credit. How convenient. More from Forbes:

Much of the data for our list of the 20 Dirtiest Cities In America is derived from rankings done by Bert Sperling on his Bestplaces.net website. Sperling is known for his books like “Best Places To Raise Your Family” and “Cities Ranked And Rated.” His website features tools that let you slice and dice cities by a whole host of categories, like cost of living and income, as well as by water and air quality.

Sperling’s air quality index is based on annual data from the EPA, which factors in ozone and pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead and volatile organic chemicals.

Likewise, his water quality rankings use EPA data that measures watershed quality by looking at 15 indicators like pollutants, sediments, and toxic releases.

Both indices rank metropolitan areas into an index where 1 is the worst and 100 is the best.

To get a set of dirty cities, we identified which metro areas (with population of 500,000 or more) showed up on both lists for poor water quality and air quality. Then we averaged their rankings on the indices. We then took a look at some other sources, such as EPA data on the big cities with the most toxic releases (Houston, Texas–ranked 13th–leads by a mile), the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report, as well as a look at the prevalence of Superfund sites in the various areas.

Maybe Forbes and Sperling should bathe in the toxic waste of their misplaced logic. More info on the city from Best Places here.

Interestingly, Bridgeport is listed high in other areas which defies singling out the city based on a geographic distortion.

Check out Forbes entire dirty mess here.

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18 Comments so far ↓

  • Bridgeporteur

    Well … let’s see … one comes up with a thesis, based on general impressions, say, riding through the busiest road in the nation I-95 or say on Metro North, and seeing the DiNardo/Finch Mess at Remington Arms, or seeing the Gateway to Bridgeport from Metro North, another Finch Mess (see Congress Plaza Development Plan) and throw in Family Guy’s national comedy and you get an impression/thesis, and you have to make deadline so you kind of make a mistake because Raymark is close to Bridgeport. My guess.

  • Local Eyes

    While some observers claim Forbes magazine gives a distorted picture of Bridgeport CT USA, others are grateful its Mayor is looking to counteract those problems by going green. When respected media start badmouthing Bridgeport, it’s comforting to know the preceding story is about the role its Mayor is playing in improving the power grid; increasing tax revenue and moving the city forward.

    Kudos to Lennie for hosting a swell party; thanks to Phil Kuchma for renovating The Bijou and thanks to the Belting Beauties for rocking the boat on a Sunday night.

  • Zena Lu

    You want me to beat him up, Lennie?

  • Up On Bridgeport

    If Anna Maria Virzi were still an editor at Forbes this never would have seeped through her cite-lines.

  • Up On Bridgeport

    Neither would the above sentence.

  • yahooy

    Forbes was being kind.

  • bridgeportnow

    Health or tax revenue. Which is more important? The head of our city environmental organization says tax and our state rep Ezequiel Santiago says health, as stated in a Dec 5 op ed.

    But where is the pollution coming from? Doctors say “the Bridgeport coal plant is a source of mercury, soot, smog, sulfur dioxide and carbon pollution.”

    So why at a recent hearing on coal plant closing, did the head of our city environmental group BGreen 2020 say he wants the plant to stay open despite pollution? The green group’s mission statement mandates we “reduce our wasteful carbon emissions.”

    And the coal plant owner PSE&G funds the clean air group BGreen 2020. Is that odd? You fund an organization to get clean air while polluting it. The plant is over 40 years old and is not in compliance with many current national standards of air quality.

  • Jim Callahan

    The report is based on statistical metropolitan areas, which are different from municipalities.

    You guys know the report is queer because Raymark is in Stratford and not in Bridgeport. Stratford is part of the larger area–the Bridgeport one of at least 500,000 people–that is used by statisticians to calculate economic activity. Bridgeport has 140,000.

    Because of these reports Bridgeport generally shows up as having a healthy economy even though we know the city itself is not very good. Fairfield, Trumbull, Easton, Stratford, Monroe and whatever are fine, and balance economic reports out.

    The writer doesn’t take care to explain himself carefully and therefore screws his own arguments in his essay. (These top 10 lists tend to be frauds anyway.)

    However, it does not hurt to remind you guys environmental contamination is a serious problem to redeveloping the northeast and midwest cities of the United States. Developers would rather go elsewhere than deal with the hassle of cleaning up.

    Virtually all of you are old enough to remember the industrial pollution that went along with making the city a manufacturing hub. For the last 30 years Bridgeport and like communities have been on the downside of that.

    Mayor Bill Finch–Mayor Green Jeans–is right to emphasize environmental concerns. The city will get nowhere in economic development unless it addresses it and continues to address it. I’ll grant you on occasion the mayor needs to be dumped into one of his own recycling bins when he gets high and mighty on the topic. But he’s not wrong.

    Note the Forbes writer threw a bone when he talked about Harbor Yards. Handling the environmental problem in that way is one solution. As long as the city remembers that, and works toward like solutions, you’ll be OK.

    By the way, going back to Top 10 lists, I think Forbes delights in using Bridgeport as an example because you are in Southwestern Connecticut and so many of their bosses live down county.

    Just sayin’.

  • John Marshall Lee

    There is at least one reference above to “metropolitan” areas with greater than 500,000 population. With Bridgeport around 150,000, that means Stratford and some other towns (perhaps even Fairfield, Westport, Trumbull and Easton) were grouped together (yet Bridgeport gets the rap as the biggest community).

    The cost of taxes hits you regularly, at least annually, and perhaps monthly. And it hits almost everyone, presumably fairly, so it mitigates the sense of “unfairly selected.” The cost of health loss and health care on the other hand allows many people to skate for years without understanding what may have been done to their systems by the environment, by a smoker in the family, by a sociable group that helps your liver finally give up after duty in the military and a variety of exposures, etc. So sorting out the individual responses depends on personal experiences. Time will tell.

  • Jim Callahan

    That generating plant is operating at negligible capacity from past decades. bridgeportnow cannot explain why every resident of town did not die from that plant decades ago.

    bridgeportnow is so full of environmental crap he should be dumped into one of Mayor Green Jeans’ bins.

  • bridgeportnow

    Jim, I was mostly citing what our state rep said. Are you saying he is full of it?

  • Andrew C Fardy

    If Jim is not, I am.

  • Local Eyes

    Prevailing water currents haven’t changed in several decades. In 2012 much of that debris is offshore Bridgeport. The indices are based on current conditions, not origins.

  • Jennifer Buchanan

    Gosh, how about looking at this as–this is what some of our problems are–how do we go about fixing them, rather than pushing back with–so unfair–nowhere in the article did I read Raymark was in Bridgeport–just their toxic waste–which is sadly not unusual–which makes me wonder–do we have the infrastructure to handle the soon-to-be-sent-to-us sewage from Trumbull–are we always going to be the toilet and dump for Fairfield County?

  • Andrew C Fardy

    One of the things this city should be doing is tearing down these derelict buildings. This is not rocket science. We used to have a board of condemnation that handled much of the derelict building problem.
    We don’t need to send this work out to bid, we have the equipment, the seasonal manpower and such to get this done.
    Give me a crane and three of the new large dump trucks and five laborers plus a list of buildings and I could get these buildings down in no time.
    I can hear Mark Anastasi now, “we can’t do that we have to follow procedure.” Many of these buildings are in poor neighborhoods and I guess that means no one gives a shit if the poor have to live with these buildings in their neighborhoods. BTW where are the council people where these dumps are located?

  • Mojo

    *** In 24 hours Bpt’s gone from a clean energy cell plant city to a dirty, stinky wasteland depending which web article you might be reading, no? *** STINKY CLEAN! ***

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