March 9th - March 15th, 2007
9/11 Plume Less Harmful Than Previously Thought
Monday, March 12th: Scientists at the University of California at Davis tested samples of a shirt sealed in a messenger bag since September 11th and discovered that the dust cloud that enveloped Lower Manhattan was not as poisonous as previously believed, the New York Post reported. Samples from the shirt show that two-thirds of the debris was relatively harmless and that those who evacuated immediately were not exposed to lead and burning debris at Ground Zero.
"The shirt was a godsend. There was untouched fine dust on the shirt. It was an uncontaminated sample of the dust people were breathing after the South Tower collapsed," scientist Thomas Cahill told the Post. "I'm so glad to give New York good news for once. The tests showed the plume was less harmful than we thought. Most of the plume was harmless drywall. There were no hazardous materials," he added.
Rally to Protest Ground Zero Insurers Failure to Pay Policies
Monday, March 12th: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein, lawmakers, and labor leaders rallied with hundreds of construction workers outside of a National Association of Insurance Commissioners' meeting to protest stalled payments by two insurance companies that are jeopardizing rebuilding at Ground Zero, the Associated Press reported. The two companies, Allianz and Royal & Sun Alliance UK, are among those that have not agreed to pay their portion of the $4.6 billion being used to rebuild Ground Zero.
According to Edward Malloy, president of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, Allianz and Royal owe approximately $800 million. Silverstein told the AP, "The insurers will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying legitimate debts. We will not stand by while they duck their obligations to New York and this nation."
Search for Remains to Close Portion of West Street
Monday, March 12th: In the city's ongoing search for human remains at Ground Zero, portions of Route 9A/West Street will be closed in order to fully excavate the autoramps that used to service the WTC underground parking garage from the pre-9/11 median of West Street, the Associated Press reported. "Based on our findings during the haul road excavation, OCME (the Office of Chief Medical Examiner) believes that there could be some WTC material (and thus possibly human remains) in the portions of the ramps that extend under West Street," Deputy Mayor for Administration Ed Skyler told the AP.
More than 4800 cubic yards of material have been sifted since the search began in October, and more than 1,200 potential human remains and five pieces of trade center steel have been found. The lot of St. Nicholas' Greek Orthodox Church will also be searched, as will 600 manholes and three other buildings near Ground Zero, the AP continued. The search is expected to be completed by the end of November 2007.
TIG Insurance Pays Silvertein
Wednesday, March 14th: TIG Insurance Co. agreed to pay its $12.5 million share to settle 9/11 insurance claims, developer Larry Silverstein told Crain's New York Business. TIG, based in Irving, Texas, is one of 24 World Trade Center insurers and one of the nine companies ordered in 2004 to make a double payment. Silverstein told Crain's, "This agreement is important because it will help to assure that we have all the money necessary to rebuild the World Trade Center on the super-accelerated timetable everyone wants," Silverstein said.