Representatives from the City of New York, Cas Holloway and Dan Watson talked in unconvincing circles tonight at their second presentation this week to discuss alternatives to designating the Gowanus as a Superfund site.
Their major points.
1. The city’s plan is exactly the same as the E.P.A’s. The dredging will be done by the Army Corp of Engineers and will be overseen by the EPA. The difference? It wound not be called a Superfund site. They see it as a stigma.
2. They feel that P.R.P’s (potentially responsible parties or polluters) would be more willing to pay up if it was on a voluntary basis. (Does anybody believe this?)
3. The monies that are NOT collected from P.R.P’s will be gotten through the Water Resources Development Act or WRDA.
This is the best part!
4. If it doesn’t work out and the big “if” lies on getting the money from W.R.D.A than they will hand the project over to the EPA and it can then become the much stigmatized Superfund site. Of course this will be a few years down the road but "what's the hurry?"
The problem is and they did not mention it but Dan Wiley from Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez’s office confirmed that there is no money in WRDA for the Gowanus!
Making the city’s plan a huge waste of money all in order to avoid the “stigma” of the word Superfund!
To quote Congresswoman Velazquez from an article from the Brooklyn Star (link below):
"The Gowanus Canal has never been included in WRDA and this is the vehicle the city is proposing to use," Velazquez said. "For the city to say that their plan relies on money that the federal government won't be able to provide is a disservice to the community."
I know this is redundant but it seems like a huge waste of time and money to me. Let the Fed’s do it!
The business owners in the audience questioned about P.R.Ps. Walter Mugdon of the EPA stepped in several times at the city’s invitation to explain things that the city obviously couldn’t answer. I think that this made the city seem less credible.
Debby Scotto, (one of the members of Clean Gowanus Now!) did comment about the “stigma” and how it will redline the neighborhood making it impossible to get insurance and mortgages. I would think the neighborhood is far past that, it’s gentrified and I don’t think there is any going back to those days. The Gowanus and Carroll Gardens are constantly being written about in the NY Times Real Estate section, fashion and design magazines etc. It will continue to be desirable. That’s why the Toll Brothers want in so bad. I would think that by allowing the EPA to step in with their plan, which they already have drawn up would cost the taxpayers far less money. The city did admit that that the taxpayers would be paying for the bulk of it their plan. Actually Walter Mugdon said that but they didn’t object!
The city on one hand says they will get it done faster and on the other hand say, “what’s the hurry?”
Cas Holloway admitted that the only reason that they came up with this plan was because the DEP requested that it become a Superfund site when questioned about their sudden interest. Reason enough alone to distrust them. They were willing to let developments happen on a toxic waste dump and only when forced have acted like they care. Ultimately it is the EPA that has the final decision on this and I hope they are not swayed by the lobbying that is probably being done in Washington despite Holloway’s claim that they are not.
Click here to read about how there is no money in WRDA for the Gowanus Canal!
Read about yesterday’s meeting over here at Pardon Me For Asking