Giuliani opened downtown despite danger

Sept. 7, 2006 at 1:00 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- A 2001 memo reveals then New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani re-opened sections of downtown Manhattan weeks after the 9/11 attacks despite knowing the air was toxic.

The New York Post published a CBS News report that said the city's Department of Environmental Protection was overruled by the mayor after it said it was "uncomfortable" with the idea of reopening the area to the public.

"The mayor (Rudy Giuliani) is under pressure from building owners ... to open more of the city," a Health Department official wrote in Oct. 6, 2001.

The memo's release came as New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said the body was preparing to allocate millions of dollars to a treatment program for downtown residents who became ill after breathing polluted air at Ground Zero, the Post said. The decision followed a Mount Sinai Medical Center report that said 70 percent of emergency workers had developed respiratory problems after Sept. 11, 2001.

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