"We sleep, we eat, we dream the Gowanus Canal"
These words by the EPA's Remedial Project Manager, Christos Tsiamis perked me up at last nights informational community meeting with the EPA. It was not the most exciting thing to be doing on a Thursday night, for the most part it was a rundown by the EPA's very congenial Community Involvement Coordinator, Natalie Loney on the EPA's Technical Assistant Programs and how to apply for a TAG grant.
The EPA provides $50,000 to a community group so they can pay for technical advisor to interpret and explain technical reports, site conditions and the EPA's cleanup proposals and decisions. The EPA encourages groups in the community whose health, economic well being or enjoyment of the environment might be hurt by a Superfund site.
One of the criteria that makes one ineligible for a group to receive a TAG grant is if that group has accepted money from P.R.P's (potentially responsible parties i.e.: polluters) or political associations, which seemed to have some people who are in such groups asking questions about how to form new groups at the meeting.
Anyhow you can read all about who is eligible to apply for tag grants and how to apply here.
Things picked up during the last 20 minutes of the meeting when questions from the community were taken. I was surprised at the tone of antagonism that was directed toward Remedial Project Manager, Christos Tsiamis. Many kept asking about the city's alternative plan, which Christos answered for the most part that you'd have to ask the city for those answers. To which, a community member said that the city has been absent on this issue for months. Not the EPA's problem but Christos said he will work on these answers for the next meeting.
People in the community, including myself are getting tired of waiting for a decision. The comment period ended last July and we have been waiting ever since. It's tiring to go to meetings held by the EPA when we are still not sure who the heck is going to end up cleaning it. Is this all a waste of time?
I have never thought so, and have not doubted for a second that the canal will get the Superfunding. Tsiamis said that they have been "gaining a lot of momentum" and have been in discussion with a major PRP, National Grid. They will be meeting with them next week to discuss investing in work on the canal and what they think their role will be.
"We have a plan,a schedule and we will do it on time" said Christos.
If you have any questions about anything about this project, don't hesitate to contact
Community Involvement Coordinator