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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: 1167

JENNIFER Omabegho
224 Washington Ave
Brooklyn, NY
Nicholas Mendoza
255 evergreen ave
Brooklyn, NY
Alice Beal
215 Congress St.
Brooklyn, NY
Meghan Gallagher
501 Hicks St.
Brooklyn, NY
Ginna Marston
389 East 89th Street, 29B
New York, NY
Michael Marston
389 East 89th Street, Apt 29B, New York, NY 10128
New York, New York
James Crews
277 President Street #3a
Brooklyn, ny
T Fenichel
5 st
Brooklyn, NY
Evan Meszaros
Hobbies Odd, Inc
Louisville, KY
Saskia Curry
102 East Tiana Road
Hampton Bays, NY
William Verde
24 First St
Brooklyn , NY
Eunice Auer
280 President Street
Brooklyn, New York
Joachim Auer
280 President Street
Brooklyn, New York
Gracey Connelly
31 1st Place
Brooklyn, NY
Robert Mittenthal
569 17th Street
Brooklyn, NY
Jill Bressler
726 SAMSONVILLE ROAD
KERHONKSON, NY
Michelle Hughes
Farmer/Owner
Reclamation Herb Farm
381 County Route 10 Stop 1
Germantown, NY
Alan Gerson
Esq.
Foremer City Council Member; ; Sierra Club Executive Committee (for identification purposes)
505 LaGuardia Place, 20A
New York, New York
Lisa Callan
280 President Street
Brooklyn , New York
Christina Mercadante
5 2nd Street, Apt 3
Brooklyn, New York
Bethany Hatheway
268 Carroll Street
Brooklyn, NY
Lisanne McTernan
100 Woodruff Ave, apt 5C
Brooklyn, NY
Jeffrey Peltz
296 Carroll Street
Brooklyn, NY
Eileen Cunningham
Saugerties, NY
Esther Blount
424 Vanderbilt Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11238
Marlene Cintron
888 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY
Antonia Fattizzi
Brooklyn, NY
Vedette Lim
624 President Street Apt 4
Brooklyn, NY
Anna Theofilopoulou
Member
East River Park Action
14 Stuyvesant Oval
New York, NY
Julie Fry
9 2ND ST # 1
BROOKLYN, NY
Ricardo Pacheco
President
Jackson Heights Coops Alliance, Inc.
33-24 91st Street
Queens, New York
Catherine Cichon
153 Nelson St.
Brooklyn, New York
Adora Skopic
140 W Broadway
New York, New York
David Kastin
439 8th Street
Brooklyn , NY
AJ Miller
14 Stuyvesant Oval
New York, New York
Diego Garrido
235 Adams St. 10D
Brooklyn, NY
Aaron Nesser
488 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn, New York
Patrick Watson
490 Clinton street
Brooklyn, NY
Jay Lubow
360 Court Street, #15
Brooklyn, NY
Arthur J Foster
Citizen
Concern for Democracy
211 Madison Ave
New York, NY
Andrea Kortes
60 Tiffany Place, Apt 1G, Apt 1G
Brooklyn, NY
Emily Greenspan
42 Montgomery Pl
Brooklyn, NY
Kristine Rigley
22 Glen Lane
Glen Head, New York
Alan Fried
Member
New Action Caucus
2630 Cropsey Ave
Brooklyn, NY
Mary Jean Holland
336 1/2 President Street
Brooklyn, NY
Fern Lowenfels
UFT NewAction
25 Sutton Place Sout
New York, NY
Michele Bello
1439 Loughton Dr
Webster , NY
Regina Cornwell
Member, Executive Committee, Sierra Club NYC Group
Sierra Club
150 West 21 Street/5B
New York, NY
Mark Healy
Brooklyn, NY
Carolyn Uluc
30 Waterside Plaza, Apt 4J
New York, NY

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