Members of Friends Of Bond, Carroll Gardens Coalition for Respectful Development (CORD) and Friends & Residents of Greater Gowanus (FROGG) , three neighborhood organizations, have just issued a question and answer flier regarding the proposed Gowanus Canal Superfund designation by the EPA.
All three organizations have joined forces and are working together to support the superfund designation. Here is their flier:
We all have questions…
WHAT IS GOING ON?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that the Gowanus Canal has been nominated as a Superfund site. The Superfund is a federally funded program that identifies and cleans up the most highly polluted sites throughout the country.
HOW DIRTY IS IT, REALLY?
For over a hundred years, countless toxic, industrial pollutants have been dumped into the Gowanus Canal. Add in the combined sewage overflow (yes, we’ve all seen it) and you get some idea of the problem. The EPA doesn’t nominate a site unless it’s absolutely necessary- it’s science, not conjecture or a popularity contest. EPA officials have already found cancer causing PCB’s and metals such as mercury and arsenic in the Gowanus Canal. While contaminants at many hazardous sites are measured in parts per million, levels of coal tar, for example, were found to be in parts per hundred in the canal sediment.
WOULD A CLEAN CANAL REMOVE THE PRESENT STIGMA AND PRESERVE OUR PROPERTY VALUES?
There may be some depreciation in property values at first but once an area is fully cleaned up, property values resurge. Let’s face it- nothing’s changed. We’ve all been living here, well aware of a contaminated body of water in our backyard. Only now, it’s finally being addressed, realistically and comprehensively. In fact, the value of our community’s health and future well-being is finally going up, not down.
WON’T A SUPERFUND CLEAN-UP TAKE MANY, MANY YEARS?
The City of NY has had decades to take action to bring the canal into compliance with the Clean Water Act of 1972. The current mayor has had 8 years and it still doesn’t meet water quality standards. Should we have confidence that the city can get us there without Superfund support?
To quote the EPA, a clean-up can take “longer than you hope and less than you fear.” Years and years of pollution and neglect will have to be undone. All the “quick fixes” that have been proposed are piecemeal at best, and would remediate parcel by parcel, leaving many areas unaddressed and still highly polluted. It may take time but with the EPA we will know that it’s being done right, by the experts, once and for all.
WHERE WILL THE MONEY COME FROM? ISN’T THE SUPERFUND BROKE?
Former and current polluters are liable to pay some of the costs. The federal budget allocates money each year for the Superfund. An additional 600 million is in the current budget allocation for sites already listed on the EPA Superfund National Priorities List.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING NOW?
The NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) invited the EPA to evaluate the situation along the Canal. The DEC has been overseeing the city’s long-term planning for the Gowanus for decades and understands all the issues. The DEC was also engaged in the clean- up of Lowes, Public Place & Whole Foods, and in doing so, found the problems to be much more than they could handle without the EPA.
WHAT ABOUT AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND JOBS?
The goal of the EPA is simple- clean up and restore the canal. To get that task done, jobs will be produced. Once we have a clean canal, the area can develop as the community sees fit, along a healthy, viable waterway.
WHAT CAN ORDINARY CITIZENS AND RESIDENTS LIKE US DO?
There is a 90 day comment period which ends July 8th wherein the EPA welcomes your comments- the more specific examples and experiences you include, the better. For more information, go to www.superfundgowanus.org There, you can also sign a community petition to our elected officials asking them to represent your views for a Superfund clean-up of the Gowanus. If you have more questions, CB6 will be hosting a meeting with the EPA. Find out from CB6 when and where, and come.Friends Of Bond, CORD, FROGG May 2009
Please take a minute to sign the online Superfund Gowanus Petition Here
Let our politicians know that their constituents are in support of Superfund and that their delaying maneuvers are not supported by the community.
Click: The Superfund Gowanus Now Petiton
Congresswoman Nydia Valazquez 202-225-2361
For Home Page, click Pardon Me For Asking