The Skyscraper Safety Campaign
responds to the WTC
"Freedom Tower" event of July 4, 2004
The Skyscraper Safety Campaign (SSC) is gravely concerned that the Port Authority of NY & NJ (PA) and the LMDC are misleading the public regarding the Freedom Tower. While we support the revitalization of downtown NYC, we cannot have "progress" at the price of public safety.
The unalterable truth regarding the Tower and the future World Trade Center is that the entire complex will be totally immune from all NYC Building and FDNY Fire Codes, as was its predecessor. The NIST Investigation, a $16m, two year examination of the WTC collapse, is still in progress. How can we aggressively rebuild the WTC before we even know how, or why, the former WTC collapsed, and before we know what role PA immunities played in the disastrous collapse?
While the Freedom Tower is touted as being "the safest building in the world," to the contrary, the truth is that it will be a building that will be above the law. The SSC asks: How can a building that is exempt from all NYC codes be proven to be safe? In addition, an "environmentally friendly" or "green" building does not equate to a "safe" building. The WTC complex will, once again, enjoy Port Authority exemptions and will be immune from the oversight and enforcement powers of the City of NY and the Fire Department.
The SSC is deeply disturbed that "safety for firefighters" was alluded to by the PA. The truth is that the FDNY will be powerless to enforce any code violations, and in essence, will repeat history in the construction of the WTC. If the PA and Gov. Pataki are truly concerned with firefighter safety and the safety and security of the general public, these buildings should be built under the legal jurisdiction of the NYC Buildings and Fire Department. Why would they want to do anything else? Why is this being allowed by Gov. Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg, as well as other NY elected officials?
One year ago, representatives from the NY/NJ/CT Congressional delegations sent letters to Gov. Pataki, urging an end to PA immunities for the new WTC. It is time for him to disclose why he is allowing the safety of the public and the FDNY to be put at risk, once more. It is time for the Governor to take responsibility for this outrageous plan, and make sure that the new WTC is under the law, not above it!