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Statement of Margaret Maugenest, Long-Term Gowanus Canal Community Resident and Cancer Survivor

My name is MARGARET MAUGENEST and I am a cancer survivor.

I moved into the Gowanus Canal area in 1984. Gowanus was zoned industrial then, but I was able to live as an artist-in-residence in a building with other artists. We all endured noxious odors and fumes in the immediate neighborhood virtually every day. About 10 years after moving into my building, my neighbors and I ordered an environmental database report from Toxics Targeting. Walter Hang called me up and told me about the building’s proximity to a former Manufactured Gas Plant that contains many cancer-causing toxins, including coal tar that can migrate through the environment. This is the former Fulton MGP site (now the Thomas Greene Park) located diagonally across the street from my home.

In 2019, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I always believed being exposed to cancer-causing pollution likely made me sick since there is no history of cancer in my family history.

I am lucky to have survived surgery, but no one should have to go through what I have experienced with cancer. Moreover, there have been other cases of cancer in my building.

That is why I strongly support and am a signatory to the Voice of Gowanus coalition letter which requests that Governor Hochul immediately require the Fulton MGP site and all other toxic sites that pollute the Gowanus Canal to be comprehensively remediated and restored to "pre-disposal conditions."

I believe this is the only way to safeguard public health in my community. I believe it would be irresponsible for State authorities to allow thousands of residents of the Gowanus Canal to live next to immense quantities of cancer-causing coal tar. That is simply unthinkable.

Thank you.