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

Alexander Hopkins
199 32nd Street
Brooklyn, New York
Elyse Shuk
324 22nd Street Apt. 2B
Brooklyn , NY
Jennie Spector
Board Member
Indivisible Nation BK
125 Ashland Pl
Brooklyn, NY
edward alexander
159 Nelson St
Brooklyn, New York
Anna Caroline Tehan
Atlantic Collective Inc
150 Clermont Ave, Red Awning - commercial
Brooklyn, New York
Matthew Hertzberg
193 Luquer Street
Brooklyn , NY
Lua O'Brien
204 Huntington street , 2K
Brooklyn, NY
Wendy Brawer
PO Box 249
New York, NY
Joanna Bassett
85 Maywood Avenue
Rochester, NY
Mark Karwowski
368 President Street
Brooklyn, NY
Sofia Colosimo
Amy Lawday
350.ORG Families
530 herkimer street
Brooklyn , NY
Heidi Cox
Brooklyn, NY
Mark Street
273 carroll street
brooklyn, NY
John Hatheway
268 Carroll Street
Brooklyn, NY
Liz Sak
Brooklyn, NY
George Sawaya
2 3rd Pl.
Brooklyn , N.Y.
Angus Yuen-Killick
307 Carroll Street
Brooklyn, NY
Rene Woeckener
439 UNION ST, Ground Floor
Brooklyn, NY
Marcia Savin
245 Smith Street
Brooklyn, NY
Cadria Hibbert
159 Nelson Street
Brooklyn, NY
Ronert Griffith
47-50 41st St. Apt. 6A
Sunnyside, NY
Amy Vermeer
277 President Street, 3a
Brooklyn, NY
robert robbin
206 union street
brooklyn, NY
Craig Hammerman
200 Brighton 15th St Apt 5H
Brooklyn, NY
Ariel Kates
214 Sterling
Brooklyn , NY
William Friske
435 Broadway
Brooklyn , Ny
Alex Cohen
266 3rd avenue Brooklyn
Catherine Skopic
Chair, Sierra Club New York City Group
Sierra Club
140 West Broadway
New York City, New York
Jesse Alexander
91 King Street
Brooklyn, New York
Victoria Alexander
Red Hook Business Alliance
284 Van Brunt Street
Brooklyn, New York
Amanda Rouse
372 8th St.
Brooklyn, NY
luisa sartori
232 3rd street
brooklyn, NY
Jean Austin
29 Douglass St Apt 1
Brooklyn, New York
Peggy Schwartz
Professor of Dance Emerita
University of Massachusetts Amherst
108 Lessey Street
Amherst, MA
Deborah Hecht
879 West Fulton Road
West Fulton , NY
Judith Klein
8623 , Tierra Lago Cove
Lake Worth, FL
Dina Scacchetti
William Paterson University
Jennifer Levy
12 2ND ST
Brooklyn, NY
Mari White
228 Jerusalem road
Cohasset, Ma
Leslie A Mason
22 Picott Road
Kittery, ME
Boris McGiver
1447!Sawyer hollow rd
West Fulton , NY
Sung Na
385 1/2 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY
Tal Schwerd
Project Coordinator
47 Stanhope Street, 2L
Brooklyn, New York
Angel Garcia
721 Tinton Avenue
Bronx, NY
Pamela Andras
132 Union Street 2R
Brooklyn, NY
Allyson Smith
274 President Street
Brooklyn, NY
Mustapha Khan
274 President Street
Brooklyn, NY
martha bordman
358 President St,
Brooklyn, NY
sabina santoro