Thanks to Jim Vogel of State Senator Velmanette Montgomery's office, for pointing me to the Senator's Gowanus Listing Fact Sheet which her office distributed last week at a meeting on the City's half-baked alternative clean-up plan.
I have been incredibly impressed by Senator Montgomery. She was the first elected official to come out in favor of the EPA's proposed listing of the Gowanus Canal as a Superfund site.
Her clear vision, outspokenness and williningness to listen to the community in this matter is very refreshing.
Below is her fact sheet.
The fact sheet can be downloaded from Senator Montgomery's web site here.SUPERFUND IS NEEDED, NOW!
“Superfund” is the easy name for a program the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses to clean the most polluted areas of our country. The NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation asked the EPA to consider listing the Gowanus Canal after finding the incredibly high degree of pollution in the area.
THE CANAL IS VERY DANGEROUSLY POLLUTED
The level of pollution necessary for EPA Superfund listing is measured in “parts per million.” Heavy metals and certain other pollutants in the Gowanus Canal pollution registers in parts per HUNDRED. That’s 10,000 times more polluted than the lowest emergency listing! In addition, every time it rains raw sewage overflows into the canal. The bacteria count in a recent study is shocking, more than 25 times the unsafe level.
PROPERTY VALUES WILL INCREASE
Land surrounding a clean, safe canal will be far more valuable. A thorough and expeditious cleanup will be the best thing for everyone!
SUPERFUND CLEANUP WILL BE THOROUGH AND WON’T TAKE FOREVER
Progress should be seen quickly once work starts, but the complete cleanup will take time. The cleanup has to be thorough and consistent or the canal will return to the current dangerous state. Federal designation commits the cleanup to professional, uninterrupted effort.
RESPONSIBLE PARTIES PAY, AND WORK STARTS IMMEDIATELY
Superfund cleanups are funded by the people who caused the pollution.
The EPA believes much if not most of the cleanup will be the responsibility of National Grid.
*It won’t cost the community money.
*It won’t cost home owners money.
*It won’t cost new business owner money.
*The EPA has said it won’t cost New York City more money than they are already committed to spending.
The EPA starts work immediately from Federal funds set aside for this purpose.
*Congress budgets $320 million dollars annually for the Superfund
*An additional $600 million dollars has been allocated this year alone
*President Obama is reviving the funding stream that will place an additional billion dollars in the Superfund.
The EPA is ready to go!
THE CITY PLAN
New York City has proposed an alternative plan they believe will accomplish a similar clean canal, but the City is not in the business of cleaning toxic sites. While well meaning, the City plan is completely untested and contains questionable assumptions.
*The City plan depends on polluters voluntarily doing the work themselves, to their own standards; but these polluters haven’t done anything up to now.
*The City plan doesn’t intend to clean the whole canal, and a partial cleanup will not be safe.
*The City plan would need special Congressional approval for the Army Corps of Engineers to work on the entire Canal; they legally can’t go north of the Hamilton Avenue bridge!
*The City plan has no guarantees that the funding will actually happen; it relies on the idea that Congress will give substantial special money for years to come for this one project, which is very unlikely.
*The EPA has been doing this for decades and knows what it is doing. The EPA has said *Superfund listing will incorporate all City programs and not delay any efforts currently in progress. Superfund listing guarantees action in ways the City plan cannot.
The cleaning process itself will produce new, Green jobs. And a clean Gowanus Canal and vicinity will be a much better employment area!
Current plans for building housing in the Gowanus area would expose families to a life next to dangerous contamination. For the sake of all, the area must be thoroughly cleaned to Superfund standards so housing for all can be responsibly built.
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