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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

Cecil Holland Jr
336-1/2 President Street
Brooklyn, New York 11231
Mai Lara Tisdale
Brooklyn, NY
Lisa Bowstead
Business owner, Student Advocate and Teacher
The Cobble Hill Think Tank
563 Henry Street, apt 4
Brooklyn, NY
Ramona Dcott
Ms.
21 Saint James Place, Apt. 10i
Brooklyn, New York
Vi Go
343 Pacific St. #2
Brooklyn, NY
Sandy Balboza
321 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn , New York
James Stull
Sharon Williams
195 Willoughby Ave # 1005
Brooklyn , NY
Gregory Heyl
112 dean st
Brooklyn, Ny
Howard Kolins
President
Boerum Hill Association
110 HOYT ST
Brooklyn, New York
Deborah Farley
Retired
4120 46th street
Sunnyside , NY
Janice Everett
280 Nevins St
Brooklyn, NY
Chris Piazza
Chris Piazza
375 Pacific Street
BROOKLYN, NY
Gaia DiLoreto
384 Warren St. 2L
Brooklyn , NY
Frieda Lim
Alyson Abraham
376 President St
Brooklyn, NY
Andrea Flink
IndivisibleWeStand UWS
500 West End Ave., Apt. 11B
New York, NY
laurie Spear
142 West End Avenue
New York, NY
Phillip Saperia
1 Hanson Place, 23E
Brooklyn, New York
Arlene Kossoff
375 West End Ave
New York, NY
Kare Gibbons
280 Nevins St.
Brooklyn, NY
Holly Rothkopf
SCPNYC
Francois Balmelle
Renee Monrose
Broadway Residents Coalition
New York, New York
Diane Englander
50 herrick road
Southampton, NY
jacquelyn drechsler
Self
116 Sierra Vista Lane
Valley Cottage , NY
Zoë Greenberg
27 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, New York
Sally MacNichol
231 W 21st
New York , NY
Yvette Tsiropoulos
New York, NY
Devon Gray
244 Hoyt St
Brooklyn, NY
Kurt Hill
93 Clay Street, #1-A, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Alexis Goldsmith
Schagticoke, NY
Cynthia Miller
290 West 232nd Street, Apt. 15B
Bronx, NY
Raphael Crystal
University of
290 W. 232nd St., #15B
Bronx, NY
Kristin Eliasberg
194 Baltic St
Brooklyn, NY
Joseph Caputo
Jason Hess
377 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY
Katia Lief
67 Dean Street
Brookyn, NY
John Mazlish
Photographer
John Mazlish Fine Art
369 Degraw st. #3
Brooklyn, NY
Caroline Batzdorf
Vicki Assevero
Founder
Green Market Santa Cruz
40 Broad Street Apt 25 B
New York, NY
JANINE NICHOLS
191 ST MARKS AVE
BROOKLYN, NY
Jane Selden
Co-Chair, WasteNøt/350NYC
350NYC
446 East 20th St.
New York, NY
Robert Thibault
New York, NY
Hayden Herrera
173 Riverside Drive, apt 7C, apt 7C, apt 7C
NEW YORK, NY
Joel Kupferman
Exec. Dir
Environment Justice Initiative
301 W.107th St. 4W
New York, NY
Jerry Rivers
Environmental Scientist
North American Climate, Conservation and Environment(NACCE)
8 Gombert place
Roosevelt, New York
Michael Gusev
Brooklyn, New York
Ruth Benn
Brooklyn, NY
Judith Weis
Sierra Club/350
170 West End Ave, Apt 12N
New York, New York

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