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I did not attend the meeting with my House Representative, Yvette Clarke, but I am concerned about her understanding of the issues as expressed in her focus on the Superfund time-frame.
The real concern that Representative Clarke should be raising is how long would an environmental cleanup take should the EPA Superfund process not be engaged now to address all the conditions here in the Gowanus?
Representative Clarke should take the time to question how long it would take the city to run a cleanup which would achieve the same level of environmental remediation as the EPA plan. To state that something will take too long requires a comparison--too long compared to what? Twenty years compared to the current course of doing nothing about the contamination in the Gowanus might be considered a brief time--especially considering that the community has been calling for action for more than a hundred years. And if the work was done in ten years, as the EPA projects, what a drop-in-the-bucket!
It has also become evident by now, to all those who have taken the time to understand what the City is offering under the city's alternative-alternative cleanup plan, that this plan is untested and riddled with processes and programs that are open to endless delays--if they were ever to get off the ground at all. There is great uncertainty that any remediation actions would ever take place under the City Plan which lacks a dedicated funding process, experience, and legal authority.
If Representative Clarke is sincerely concerned about the time-line for a Gowanus cleanup she should do all that she can to get the Superfund effort off the ground and not play along with the delay tactics that have been put into place by the city. She should do all that she can to call for full cooperation between the City and the EPA to ensure the shortest time line to get to our common goal.