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



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This coalition letter is a joint effort between Toxics Targeting and voiceofgowanus.org. 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."

Conclusion

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

Janie Steinman-Gordon
309 President Street, APT 2
Brooklyn, New York
John Scarantino
Voice of Gowanus
195 Nelson Street,
Brooklyn, NY
Sheila Sobolewski
157 12th st
Brooklyn, Ny
Fannie Ip
President
East River Park Action
25 Montgomery St
New York , NY
Jessica Fleischman
601 Carroll st, #3
Brooklyn, NY
Judy Arnow
202 Berkeley Pl
Brooklyn, NY
Patricia Constantino
40 3rd Street
Brooklyn, NY
Sally Mann
170 Degraw
Brooklyn , NY
Tim McGinty
295 Carroll Street #2
Brooklyn, NY
Michael Kaminsky
421 Degraw Street, 1K
Brooklyn , NY
Kenneth Baer
91 6TH AVE APT 2
Brooklyn, NY
Anthony Nicolau
275 Clinton Ave
Brooklyn, Choose a Region
Christine Bratton
member
Voice of Gowanus
155 Hicks St
Brooklyn, NY
Ariel Russ
772 UNION STREET
brooklyn, NY
Mary Hedge
397 Degraw Street
Brooklyn, NY
Vjosa Mujko
243 4th Avenue, PH 10A
Brooklyn, New York
Marisa Beutel
Court St
Brooklyn, NY
Sara Woster
239 Carroll Street, Apt 1
Brooklyn, NY
Paul Sylvain
N/A
N/A
30 Bergen Beach Pl
New York, NY
Barrin Bonet
376 President St Apt 3E
Brooklyn, NY
Kathryn Krase
128 8th Street
Brooklyn, NY
Lindsay Calhoun
441 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY
Victoria Hillstom
DIDnyc
385 Greenwich aka 71 North Moore, Upper Floors
New York , New York
Lisa Bowstead
Business owner, Student Advocate and Teacher
The Cobble Hill Think Tank
563 Henry Street
Brooklyn, NY
Paul Gorini
Home Owner
2 3rd street
Brooklyn , Ny
Joseph Roller
9 fourth street
Brooklyn , Ny
Sandye Renz
172 12th St
Brooklyn , Ny
Alyson Shotz
ms
248 Creamer St Ste 3
Brooklyn, NY
M Gaudioso
Homeowner
Nelson St
Brooklyn , NY
Henry Bertoni
439 10th Street
Brooklyn, NY
Wes Braver
Member
Voice of Gowanus
511 President St
Brookyln, NY
Jerret Engle
410 1/2 Clinton St.
Brooklyn, New York
Sandy Reiburn
President
Preserve Our Brooklyn Neighborhoods
100 South Elliott Place
Brooklyn, NY
jenine ferrari
112-01 Queens Boulevard, Apartment #26H,
Forest Hills, NY
Julia Passof
33-47 91st, apt 6A
Jackson Heights, NY
Karen Furth
17 Dennett Place
BROOKLYN, NY
Alan Essner
716A Union St
Brooklyn, NY
Julia Bryant
Nancy Blechman
135 Bergen Street
Brooklyn , NY
Barry Yanowitz
230 Jay St., Apt 11-H
Brooklyn, New York
CARL MALLIA
461 Warren Street
BROOKLYN, NY
Justin Shea
455 Warren Street
Brooklyn, NY
Michael Ishizawa
206 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY
Radha Korman
467 Warren St.
Brooklyn, NY
Alice Patton
323 River Road
South Deerfield, MA
Ute Zimmermann
Ricardo Pacheco
President
Jackson Heights Coops Alliance, Inc.
Jackson Heights, NY
Valerie Fenimore
201 Nelson Street
Brooklyn, NY
Amy McCloskey
167 Nelson St. 1L
Brooklyn, NY
Lucia Stoisor
478 Warren Str. Apt. 1
Brooklyn, Ny

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