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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

Julie Fissinger
43 Lefferts Avenue
Brooklyn , NY
Brian Guay
169 9th St, Apt 3b
Brooklyn, NY
Elizabeth Shelton
415 36th St. # 301
Brooklyn, New York
Vanessa Thill
624 Myrtle Ave #1
Brooklyn , NY
Eleanor Moretta
349 20th St.
Brooklyn, NY
Joseph Greco
Berry street alliance
166 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY
Kristin Krase
393 14th Street
BROOKLYN, NY
simona bares
246 Withers St.
Brooklyn , NY
Amy Mott
3504 Homestead Ct.
Peekskill, NY
Sonya Baehr
353 5th Street
Brooklyn , NY
Lisa Dombrow
230B 7th Street, Apt A
Brooklyn, NY
Amy Briggs
Fermin Villalpando
276 Third Ave
Brooklyn, NY
James Long
Lanie Lee
New York, NY
Gilbert Sabater
305 E. 86 Street (18NW)
New York, New York
Pamela Miller
None
228 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY
Jane Hattemer-Stringer
344 Bumps River Rd.
Osterville, Massachusetts
carol ach
organic farm
Salutation*
44340 MCKENZIE HWY
WALTERVILLE, Oregon
Courtney Frank
83 2nd Place, Apt 4R
Brooklyn, NY
Adam Behrmann
385 5th Street, Apt 2
Brooklyn, NY
Mary-Elizabeth Mitchell
133A Bergen Street
Brooklyn, NY
Keith Bigger
Ministry Leader
The Baptist Temple
360 Schermerhorn Street
Brooklyn , New York
Roslyn Huebener
Corresponding Secretary
Fort Greene Association
91 Lafayette Ave
Brooklyn, NY
Mary Beth Early
426 Pacific St
Brooklyn, NY
Phillis Gershator
171 Dean St.
Brooklyn, NY
Katharine Mukherji
120 Boerum Pl apt 1A
Brooklyn, New York
Matthew Spitzer
447 Sackett St
Brooklyn, NY
Saundra Pinn
New York, NY
Sumi Hansen
299 State St
Brooklyn, NY
Mildred Furiya
299 State St, Apt 1
Brooklyn, NY
Shayna Kreisler
585 6th street
Brooklyn, NY
Lynne Grifo
Trinity Wall St Environmental Justice Committee
william harris
393 Pacifc Street
brooklyn, new york
Amy Cortese
Brooklyn, NY
Mary Gocher
300 East 89th St #2C
New York, NY
Peter Reich
280 Nevins Street
Brooklyn, New York
Yonah Gershator
171 Dean Street
Brooklyn, NY
Robert Schneck
President
VOLKsHouse LLC
200 Rector Place
New York, NY
Jason Rosenbaum
441 Sackett st
Brooklyn, NY
John Baumann
215 Bergen St
Brooklyn, NY
Shelley Brevda
Health Administrator
3511 85th St #8K
Jackson Hts, New York
Britni Erez
Jeanne Grifo
Resident of Cobble Hill
55 Cheever Place
Brooklyn New York, New York
John Odomirok
108 Berry Street.
BROOKLYN, NY
Jennifer Melby
110 Wyckoff Street
Brooklyn, NY
Leonardo Romeo
President
Local Development International LLC
213 Wyckoff Street
Brooklyn, New York
Leslie Kaufman
Sackett Street
Brooklyn, NY
Alexandra Quantrill
210 Bergen Street
Brooklyn, NY
Patricia Dorfman
39-46 46th St.
Sunnyside, NY

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