Sunday, May 23, 2021

No Gowanus Rezone! Reverend Billy And His 'Stop Shopping Choir' Join Voice Of Gowanus In Celebration Of Biodiversity Day


In case you missed it, this Sunday was Biodiversity Day.  It only seemed fitting to us to celebrate the occasion in Gowanus, Brooklyn, with members of Voice of GowanusGowanus Artists In Alliance (GAIA) and Reverend Billy Talen for some good old fashioned activism 

Reverend Billy, in a lime green suit, led members of his Stop Shopping Choir and local residents in songs about the past, present, and future of this former marshland, which is so polluted today that the Environmental Protection Agency declared it a Superfund Site, a designation reserved for the most polluted lands in the United States.

Though a clean-up of the canal is currently underway, it will take another ten years to dredge all the toxic material from the 1.8 mile waterway.  Despite its toxicity, the canal and its banks are home to many birds, plants, fish.. and humans.

And of course, there were calls for actions against the proposed 80 block Gowanus rezoning, which is projected to bring 20,000-22,000 new residents to this FEMA flood zone, without serious consideration for necessary infrastructure and thorough environmental clean-ups.

One action is the demand for a redo of the Department of City Planning's Draft Environmental Impact Study for the Gowanus Rezoning, which is a mind-numbing 1,000 pages long. The DEIS has a major flaw since the EPA, FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers were not involved in its creating as "involved parties." It is imperative that they be partner agencies in a rewritten, lawful DEIS.

It still distressed us how many Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and Park Slope residents have no idea about the rezoning, let alone its sheer size and environmental impacts.

Actions like the one on the Union Street Bridge with Reverend Billy hopefully informed some more in the community.

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