You are here

Coalition Letter Which Requests That Governor Hochul Comprehensively Remediate All Toxic Sites in the Gowanus Canal Community to "Pre-Disposal Conditions."

SIZ - Simple Image Zoom

This coalition letter is a joint effort between Toxics Targeting and Please visit their web site to learn more about this campaign.
You can also visit: Campaign to Require Governor Hochul to Clean Up All Toxic Sites in the Gowanus Canal Community to "Pre-Disposal Conditions"

The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York
The State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Hochul:

We, the undersigned, write respectfully to request that you remediate all Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites, Brownfields, hazardous substance releases and other documented contamination threats to the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, NY in strict compliance with State mandates requiring comprehensive toxic cleanups to "pre-disposal conditions" and pollution spill "source removal" in order to fulfill all applicable regulatory requirements.

As documented by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) data presented below, it is beyond dispute that your administration, as well as earlier administrations you served in, routinely and systematically failed to remediate dozens of massively polluted toxic sites that contaminate the Gowanus Canal.

See: Public Health and Environmental Toxic Threats Along the Gowanus Canal That Reportedly Do Not Meet All Applicable Cleanup Standards

That is why this immensely impaired toxic waterway was included circa 2010 on the National Priorities List for Federal Superfund Cleanup. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in the process of dredging nearly 600,000 cubic yards of "highly−contaminated sediment" from the canal at a cost of $1.5 billion.

Regarding this remediation, EPA declared that:

"The remedy relies on the control of upland sources of contamination to the Canal, including the remediation of three former MGP [Manufactured Gas Plants, not in the original] sites adjacent to the Canal−−Carroll Gardens/Public Place (formerly known as "Citizens Gas Works"); former Metropolitan MGP, and former Fulton Municipal Works MGP (Fulton MGP) (emphasis added)."

See: Gowanus NPL

Your administration reportedly has no plans to remove cancer-causing coal tar contamination up to 150 feet deep at the three MGPs. In addition, DEC has failed to remediate more than 35 additional toxic sites "upland" of the Gowanus Canal in strict compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements.

As New York's Governor and Chief Executive, you have a duty to safeguard our state's public health and environment by strictly enforcing applicable laws and regulatory requirements. If you fail to require pollution source-removals at all "upland" Gowanus Canal sites and restore them to "pre-disposal conditions," EPA's massive dredging effort will ultimately be recontaminated by the same toxic sources that originally polluted this massively impaired waterway.

That would be an unthinkable and unacceptable exercise in futility. It must be avoided in order to safeguard public health in the Gowanus Canal community.

New York's Legacy of Toxic Sites

New York is threatened by a vast legacy of thousands of toxic chemical dumps, former industrial sites and abandoned municipal landfills as well as hundreds of thousands of leaking petroleum tanks and hazardous substance spills. According to government regulatory data, the vast majority of these environmental and public health hazards have never been comprehensively investigated or remediated in strict compliance with the maximum level of State or Federal cleanup requirements.

Your administration routinely fails to enforce State Environmental Remediation Program requirements codified in 6 NYCRR (New York Codes, Rules and Regulations) PART 375-2.8 (a):

"The goal of the remedial program for a specific site is to restore that site to pre-disposal conditions (emphasis added), to the extent feasible."

Your administration similarly fails to enforce Section 171 of the New York Navigation Law regarding uncontrolled releases of petroleum and hazardous substances:

"It is the purpose of this article to ensure a clean environment and healthy economy for the state by preventing the unregulated discharge of petroleum which may result in damage to lands, waters or natural resources of the state by authorizing the department of environmental conservation to respond quickly to such discharges and effect prompt cleanup and removal of such discharges (emphasis added), giving first priority to minimizing environmental damage, and by providing for liability for damage sustained within the state as a result of such discharges."


Given New York's long-standing and on-going failure to remediate toxic problems around the Gowanus Canal in strict compliance with the highest levels of cleanup mandated by our state's public health and environmental protection laws, tens of thousands of residents of that community face unacceptable public health risks, including low-income and minority residents that are New York's most vulnerable citizens.

The Gowanus Canal community is plagued by soil gas vapor intrusion hazards that are documented at many of the major toxic sites documented herein. Yet no comprehensive survey has been undertaken to identify or safeguard homes, schools, businesses and other structures that are contaminated by this known hazard.

Unremediated toxic pollution also could be spread by increased flooding associated with climate change since enormous quantities of Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid (LNAPL), such as petroleum contamination, underlie many of the toxic sites surrounding the Gowanus Canal. For example, Superstorm Sandy polluted vast areas of New York City when extensive flooding distributed toxic pollution that was never cleaned up.

As Governor of New York, you are responsible for resolving environmental and public health problems on a comprehensive basis without any further delay. It is imperative that our state no longer tolerates inadequate remediation of toxic contamination hazards by enforcing the strict enforcement policy we propose. If you implement that policy, you would set a standard for effective regulatory action that could be replicated all over New York and from coast-to-coast. With all due respect, if you fail to adopt that policy, you would be directly responsible for imperiling New York's public health and environment and must be held accountable.

We trust you will find our respectful request self-explanatory. We will contact you to arrange a meeting to discuss our request for urgent action. Thank you for your consideration and for your public service.

Very truly yours,

cc: Hon. Eric Adams
Hon. Charles Schumer
Hon. Nydia Velázquez
Hon. Antonio Reynoso
Hon. Steven Englebright
Hon. Jo Anne Simon
Hon. Jabari Brisport
Hon. Shahana Hanif
Hon. Lisa Garcia
Hon. Mary T. Bassett
Hon. Basil Seggos

Total Signatory Count: 1170

Helen Chardack
300 E.59th Street, #2302
New York, NY
Robert Gray
Bronx, New York
Melba Sitjar
Robert Menes
Todd Steiner
165 Nelson Street apt 3
Brooklyn , NY
Lois Martin
27 Third Street
Brooklyn, NY
Bonnie Webber
Member Ex Comm
Sierra Club
1155 Park Avenue
Marianna Furio
Eric Albert
459 State St
Brooklyn, NY
Jill McManus
401 E 81st St
New York, NY
Thomas Plant
196 Carroll St.
Brooklyn, NY
Gabriella Velardi-Ward
Coalition for Wetlands and Forests
40 Wolkoff Ln
Staten Island, NY
Maureen Fagin
Brooklyn, NY
Zach Poole
502 Warren Street, Apt #2
Michele Dougherty
12 1st Place
Brooklyn , New York
Angie Wen
462 Warren Street Apt 1
Brooklyn, NY
jessica greenbaum
13 Greene Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
Heidi Paster
208 Luquer St
New York, NY
Michael Maggi
Stephanie Maggi
Rachel Bradley
505 Court Street, apt. 5R
Brooklyn, NY
David Congdon
Founding member
Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus
292 Hoyt Street
Brooklyn, NY
Michael Shulman
New Action Caucus of UFT
615 77 Street
Brooklyn, NY
Brenna Griffin
365 Van Brunt St
Brooklyn, New York
Mark Almeida
304 Carroll Street
Brooklyn , NY
Theresa Galvin
304 Carroll Street
Brooklyn , NY
Kathleen Supove
370 Union St. Apt. 2D
Brooklyn, NY
Nicholas Bacon
604 W 138TH ST, Apt. 4B
New York, NY
Albert Adato
494 President St, 1
Brooklyn, New York
Marcy Rubenstein
106 2nd Place, Apt 3
Brooklyn, NY
Kim Esposito
No e
7 Dennet Place
Brooklyn, New York
Claudia Cifuentes
468 Warren Street
Brooklyn, NY
Jesse Ganes
505 Court St, Apt 6P
Brooklyn, NY
Iva Kravitz
The Iva Agency
680 Carroll Street
Brooklyn, NY
Margaret Howley
496 Warren Street
Deborah Herdan
100 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn , NY
Brett Essler
Piero Iberti
287 Nevins Street, Apt 3
Brooklyn, NY
Ursula Cassedy
I have kids in Gowanus
41 Everleigh Court
Simpsonville, South Carolina
Laura De Nunzio
421 Degraw Street # 6L
Brooklyn, NY
Richard Lawrence
At Large Member - EPA Communiy Advisory Group
3357 28th Street
Long Island City, NY
Thomas McDonough
248 McKibbin Street Apt4M
Brooklyn, NY
Jean Liu
Margaret Doman
Trinity Church Environmental Justice Ministry
3023 JFKennedy Blvd.
Jersey City, NJ
Rachel Makleff
Climate Crisis Policy The Earth Bill Network
320 Riverside Drive1-h
New York, New York
jae ryu
229 9th st
brooklyn, nny
Tamar Schwartz
International Psychoanalytic
IPBooks, 47-46 40th Street, #3E
Sunnyside, NY
Jed Marcus
Jessie Hutt
655 Seneca Ave
Ridgewood, NY
Molly Novello
1826 Woodbine Street, Apartment 2R
Ridgewood, NY