The Gowanus Canal has ALWAYS been Stigmatized...Superfund Gowanus!

One of FROGG's Fabulous Founders, Linda Mariano, shown on the Carroll Street Bridge over the Gowanus Canal, is campaigning for the Superfund.

This wonderful article is reprinted from yesterday's Daily News. Please do not forget to comment on the EPA's website, there is only 2 days left to do so!

It's the battle for the Gowanus Canal.

The controversy surrounding the polluted waterway has inspired great passions on both sides in Carroll Gardens, complete with posters, buttons, flyers, marathon meetings and YouTube videos."I've never seen a campaign like this ever, anywhere," said federal Superfund Director Walter Mugdan. "I've never heard of one ever, anywhere."

In the past few weeks, the Bloomberg administration has held two public meetings with residents and business owners in its campaign to stop the Gowanus frombeing designated a federal Superfund site.City officials have also put together a voluminous 100-page comment to submit to the federal Environmental Protection Agency by Wednesday's deadline, with a final decision not expected until at least September. Superfund supporters, meanwhile, have been going door-to-door with their "Superfund Me!" posters and buttons.

At a meeting with business owners, Bloomberg official Cas Holloway said a Superfund designation for the canal would drive away development."There is in fact a stigma attached to a Superfund listing," said Holloway. "Property values decline and they generally don't bounce back. . . . There is difficulty refinancing, securing loans and obtaining insurance."

But Mugdan said the city's appeals to locals rest on claims that range from "a little bit misleading" to "just point-blank wrong."
At an earlier meeting with homeowners, most weren't buying the city's cleanup plan, which hinges on getting congressional funding for a cleanup and convincing past polluters to voluntarily help pay for it."Why is the city expending our money trying to talk us out of what we're being given by the EPA?" said Rita Miller, 54, who owns a home on Second Place. "They want to clean it up, let them clean it up."Kevin Duffy, 42, brandished a city flyer with anti-Superfund talking points and said, "It's a lie. It's spin."Some business owners were more receptive to the alternative plan. Daniel Tinneny said two of the 10 commercial tenants at the property he owns along the canal have already threatened to leave because of the Superfund listing and rising taxes."They were leery of it from the beginning," he said. "I'm lucky if I can hang on to my tenants."

A group of businesses and developers called the Clean Gowanus Now! Coalition has collected hundreds of postcards to send to the EPA opposing Superfund, according to local activist Buddy Scotto, a coalition member.

"You designate it a Superfund site and every private developer along the canal is going to hit the panic button," he said. "How are they going to sell apartments next to a Love Canal?"

On the other side, more than 600 people have signed a petition supporting the Superfund listing.

Linda Mariano, a founder of Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus, has gone door-to-door passing out the "Superfund Me!" posters that have popped up in windows of homes and businesses in the area. The pro-Superfund faction also sports buttons touting its cause and has posted videos on YouTube.

"The Gowanus Canal has always been stigmatized,
" Mariano said, adding that city officials "have no real plan."

"It's a question of contaminated water or clean water," Mariano said. "Who would choose contaminated water?"

Please submit your comments here!


Margaret said...

The way that CleanGowanusNow is doing business is highly suspect. Their petition is nowhere to be seen, yet they are asking people to send their names etc to add to their petition. Why would anyone do that? Sign something they don't know the content of? And now Buddy is saying they have collected hundreds of postcards that they will send to the EPA. Wait a second. Shouldn't those people who filled in their post cards be sending the postcards themselves? That's what SuperfundGowanus people did. No one collected anything for someone else. Everything was above board. Also remember that it took some doing for the CleanGowanusNow people to identify who they were. I hope the EPA is reading this and taking note!

Anonymous said...

Linda looks marvelous. What a spirited, passionate, relentless fighter on behalf of cleaning up the Gowanus!

Anonymous said...

Buddy Scotto, by his own admission, is who got the developers to Gowanus in the first place. That was grossly irresponsible - he knew it was toxic. His Gowanus Canal Community Development group got lots of money from the government to ostensibly look into the environmental conditions in Gowanus. And still he thought it was clean enough to build on. Even recently, with EPA Superfund nomination, Mr. Scotto said "There's no question the canal is clean enough now to support development." (NY Post, April 9, 2009 "Feds' Gowanus Toxic Shock") Let the developers deal with Mr. Scotto - who I am sure is cooking up another $cheme - but now the community is on to him for who and what he is.

Anonymous said...

"How are they going to sell apartments next to a Love Canal?"Buddy Scotto

Well they knew it about it in the first place and were willing to try _ a very telling comment.

Thank goodness the EPA stepped in.

Anonymous said...

For those of you who believe that there is no stigma associated with Superfund are, frankly, not sophisticated enough to understand. Insurance actuaries, loan underwriters, etc are not located a few blocks from the Gowanus. They are not in Brooklyn. And most definitely not in New York State. The data spits out the information and there is no qualitative info such as "Gowanus was always dirty and recently Superfunded". It's more along the lines of "Superfund: Yes or No." Therefore, the stigma is REAL. Do your research.

Margaret said...

The stigma is here regardless of what you call it. Gowanus toxicity is the reality - not the naming of it. And sticks and stones - not being sophisticated - if that means not burying my head in the sand and spreading and living off lies, then so be it. You don;t have to live in NYS state to find out how toxic Gowanus is -esp. this day and age of instant toxicity reports. Think of what a few minutes of Googling would reveal about the realities here!!! Including the scam of trying to act like the canal is clean enough to build on etc...I may be unsophisticated, but I sleep well at night, thank you.

F.I.B said...

I agree with Margaret, before you bought you knew what you were buying into. The fact that certain parties were downplaying the sheer amount of pollutants, yeah you DeBlasio and Toll Brothers, before the EPA stepped in- is pretty unsophisticated to me, I would call that callous and greedy.

If sophisticated is not thinking about the future and trusting a bankrupt city to do a proper clean up relying on a non existing wrda grant than please, i am as proudly un-sophisticated as you think.

Anonymous said...

to 3:10 - un⋅so⋅phis⋅ti⋅cat⋅ed  [uhn-suh-fis-ti-key-tid] –adjective
1. not sophisticated; simple; artless.
2. without complexity or refinements: a relatively unsophisticated mechanism.
3. unadulterated; pure; genuine.

The truth is simple here. The canal is seriously toxic. The EPA Superfund is the entity that can best address it, and wants to. The City can't, and even when they make their presentations, it is evident that they don't even believe their spin.
When you come from a place of truth, there is no need for complicated twists and turns. You won't get doublespeak, like: you need dense development along the canal before the government will pay enough attention to it to clean it up. And now that the EPA is here - oh-oh, that's not good because it will keep dense development away!
It is good to be pure, and to be genuine.
Thank you for the compliment 3:10.

Anonymous said...

How can you say the E.P.A are the best people to address the issue, when that is simply not true..The city would be working with the Army Corp. who are actual the best people to address this issue. We all have our bones to pick with the city, but on this issure I have to side with them, I mean they got the best people for the job , they project a shorter cleanup time, and there would be no stigma attached..AND YES PEOPLE THERE WOULD BE A STIGMA ATTACHED TO A SUPERFUND SITE, AND PLEASEE STOP SAYING IT IS ALREADY STIGMATIZED BECAUSE YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT, THERE IS HUUGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING A PROPERTY/HOME OWNER ON THE DIRTY GOWANUS THEN BEING ONE ON THE DIRTY SUPERFUNDED GOWANUS..

Anonymous said...

I think I saw the women in that picture dumping a barrell of oil over the 3rd street bridge.

F.I.B said...

The army corp did a stellar job in New Orleans...they STILL have not fixed the levees!

Anonymous said...

From the USACE's public comment: "the Corps strongly advocates the cleanup of the Gowanus by any available statutory means and stands ready to provide technical assistance."
Doesn't sound to me like the city has a lock on the USACE's involvement.

philtill said...

Its already 100% the army corp is with the city..what are you talking about?....

Margaret said...

7:57 - please - if you are going to make a comment like that, don't be anonymous. Very cowardly.
Anyway all, IT IS OVER!!!! No need to try to slander anyone. EPA has all it needs now to make its decision. Stay tuned.... :)

Anonymous said...

what is the average time it takes the EPA to complete a Superfunded project? some take upwards of two decades, don't they? perhaps even longer? how is the bankrupt federal government going to more rapidly address the canal problem (among other Superfund sites) than the bankrupt city? the rational choice here seems to be to try to do something about the canal's pollution in a shorter period of time than the Superfund average. If it is going to take a decade or two to clean the canal once it is designated "Superfund," then it can hardly make a difference (negatively) to try to address the problem through other means first.