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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

Campbell Van Horn
Haym Gross
Chair
NYC 2030 District c/o Fund for the City of NY
264 15TH STREET,
BROOKLYN, New York
Kathy Slawinski
310 E 24TH ST, Apt 4E
New York, NY
jackie Mumm
kelsea baker
369 pacific st 4B
brooklyn, ny
Houda Foster
211 Madison Ave, 14A, 14A
New York, NY
Alexis Smith
161 East 91st Street
New York, NY
Bob Greenberg
11A Seventh Avenue
Brooklyn, New York
Thomas Moog
Teacher
Uft
120 Downes Avenue
Staten Island , New York
Katherine Bini
360 W 22nd St, 5G
New York City, New York
Enid Braun
116 ADELPHI ST
BROOKLYN, NY
Ellen Rathjen
1118 S Creek Dr
Rochester , NY
Lu Doyle
Adult Faith Formation at a Catholic parish
Catholic Climate Movement/ Laudato Si' Movement
300 Union Ave
Mamaroneck, NY
Mary Ellen Kramer
1801 Dorchester Road, apt 6k
Brooklyn, NY
Alex Hilton
Maggie Clarke
Founder
Inwood Preservation
1795 Riverside drive apt 5F
New York, NY
Thomas Halstead
Dr.
Lawrence Brown
54 Franklin Street
New York , MY
Shannon Reilly
505 Court Street, 7C
BROOKLYN, New York
Julius Lang
Brooklyn, NY
Allan Young
Biomedical Engineer
Brooklyn, NY
Susan Yung
Brad Vogel
Gowanus
Rosaria Sinisi
16 Clifton Place
Brooklyn, NY
Tiffany Frarey
438 Union St.
Brooklyn, NY
Rebecca Scheer
Tommy Loeb
473 FDR Drive
New York , New York
Joseph Odea
Dick Scheer
New York, NY
Lucy Leibert
10 Oakcrest Lane
Hastings on Hudson, NY
Mark Rivera
President
MREG
3 , Echo Lane
Brewster , NY
Sandra Rivera
MREG
3 , Echo Lane
Brewster , NY
richard LEIBERT
10 OAKCREST LN
HASTINGS ON HUDSON, NY
Tom Angotti
Professor Emeritus, CUNY
1194 Prospect Avenue
Brooklyn, New York
Bonne Mogulescu
396 9th St.
Brooklyn, NY
Lawson Shadburn
352 1st street
Brooklyn , NY
Barbara McGillicuddy Bolton
384A 5TH ST
BROOKLYN, NY
Thomas Hinchen
135 Seeley St
Brooklyn, NY
Doreen Mohammed
Suzanne Nicoletti-Krase
Ms.
personal
563 9TH ST
BROOKLYN, NY
Jay Reiburn
Scott Reiburn
Shannon Phipps
Margaret Kogan
Member
Good Neighbors of Park Slope
30 Ocean Parkway, Apt 1J
Brooklyn, NY
Victoria Leventhal
186 8th Street Apt 2A
BROOKLYN, New York
Robert Kogan
30 Ocean Pky, Apt 1J
Brooklyn, NY
Vera Finkemeier
None
378A 5th Street
Brooklyn, NY
Kathleen Cahill
claire cariseo
4673 bamerick road
Jamesville, NY
Isaac Mendoza
1438 , East 51st Street
Brooklyn, NY

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