It pretty much felt like the Gowanus Canal becoming a Superfund site was a done deal at this meeting. Walter Mugdan, Director of Emergency & Remedial Response Division of the Environmental Protection Agency gave a clear and coherent overview of just exactly the objective of this project is. It was SO refreshing to hear someone with an actually scientific background say that “there is no RATIONAL DEBATE” regarding the fact that this area needs to be cleaned up BEFORE (unlike the Toll’s plan) building. THANK YOU!!! According to their sampling there is a tremendous amount of coal tar beneath the sediment and when the tide goes out the coal tar comes up. Coal tar is just ONE of the contaminents down there. He said that this is a “high profile” site which means it will get a lot of attention and that overall on a contamination score with the minimum at 28.5 and the highest at 100, the Gowanus Canal scored a 50 and that was based on just ONE pathway or area that they tested.
Of course there was the usual money based opposition. A representative from Mayor Bloomberg’s office appeared and burst the feeling of “YES! finally some sense is being spoke here” and said that the Mayor was against the superfunding and that developers have invested 400 million dollars in doing the same clean up as the EPA. Boos ensued, at least from one part of the room. Buddy Scotto, was absolutely seething and told certain people who want the Superfund project to happen, something to the effect of “ you are all good talkers but you have no money and never will." Paid union reps praised the wonderful Toll Brothers and complained about that the Superfunds were “undermining the development “ and also complained about the “romanticization of the Gowanus Canal”. Hey, what’s wrong with a little romance?
One of the highlights of the evening was when a CB 6 Board Member asked if maybe if the canal was polluted because of “the artists and their cadmium paint” she also compared the word “Superfund site” with having a “sex offender” in your neighborhood. You know it would destroy your property values. Call me crazy but wouldn’t a clean canal improve your property values and perhaps provide a healthier environment for your children and grandchildren?
Anyway, there is a 60 day comment period and I urge anyone who has an opinion to send your thoughts and concerns by June 6th.
Submit your comments here.