Friday, December 11, 2009


Hello from CORD:

This in from Dan Wiley, Community Coordinator for Rep. Nydia Velazquez:
The following article appeared in the Daily News after the well attended Dec 3 EPA meeting in Carroll Gardens.
We salute Rep Velazquez's common sense and commitment to Public Health and
At the Dec. 3 meeting the EPA mentioned that the next tentative community meeting date to discuss further progress on the gowanus canal/.superfund saga will be january 21st
We will advise more details as the date draws closer.

OP-ED: Gowanus needs Superfund status to ensure restoration

New York Daily News – Brooklyn Insert

December 8, 2009

by Rep. Nydia Velázquez

"The Gowanus Canal has earned its place in the pages of Brooklyn
history. First a creek and later expanding into a canal, it served as
a hub for New York’s Industrial Revolution.

Even today, Gowanus stands at the core of local industry. It is an
integral thread in the fabric of our community, and has been referred
to as "the Jewel of Brooklyn."

Neighborhoods like Park Slope and Carroll Gardens could not have been
built without its waters, which ferried wood, brick and brownstone
from New Jersey and the Upper Hudson. With its location just steps
away from the homes of thousands of New York families, it is
critically important that we protect the canal and restore integrity
to its waters.

Pollution within Gowanus is not a new problem. Brooklynites have been
calling for its cleanup since the 1880’s and, by 1911, Mayor William
Jay Gaynor activated a flushing tunnel.

Today, several suggestions have been made for its remediation.

One proposal by the Mayor’s office, which came to light after the
EPA’s Superfund nomination, would use federal funding through the
Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). But those dollars are already
vastly overextended.

In fact, the Army Corps of Engineers has a WRDA backlog of more than
1,000 projects, totaling $61 billion. Gowanus, if approved for WRDA
funding, would go straight to the back of that 1,000 project line.

The canal wasn’t contaminated overnight, and it won’t be cleaned
overnight, either.

In reversing decades of pollution, there is no such thing as a quick
fix solution. At this point, the best thing we can do is identify a
timely, effective plan moving forward--a plan that ensures a clean
future for South Brooklyn, and requires polluting parties to pay their
share of remediation.

That’s why I worked to secure funding for a study to identify methods
for restoring the canal. And that’s why I am calling upon the EPA to
designate Gowanus as a Superfund site.

The Superfund program was established as a means for cleaning the
country’s most hazardous waste sites. Since its inception, it has
helped restore many of our nation’s most polluted areas. With $1.89
billion in authorized funding for 2009, the Superfund budget dwarfs
that of the Army Corps. And, unlike WRDA, EPA resources don’t depend
on tax payer dollars alone.

Rather, the agency has the authority to recoup costs from polluters.
That means the large corporations that contributed to Gowanus’s
contamination will help pay for its remediation. That seems fair.

Despite its clear benefits, not everyone is in favor of Superfund
status. Real Estate developers argue that the term "Superfund" carries
too much of a stigma. They are worried that the name alone will curb
consumers’ appetite for luxury condos in South Brooklyn.

But is a Superfund site, by any other name, less polluted? The fact of
the matter is, Gowanus Canal is toxic--whether it’s deemed a Superfund
or not. As New Yorkers, we need to be focused on restoring Gowanus and
protecting Brooklyn families, not bickering over semantics.

With the comment period for Superfund status now closed, the EPA has
an opportunity to complete its review. I urge the agency to make the
right decision and designate Gowanus a Superfund site. Doing so will
ensure the canal is cleaned up in a safe, timely, cost effective

Brooklyn deserves no less."

Thank you, Congresswoman Velazquez.


For more info please see Pardon Me For Asking Blog  



With the "Protect Our Homes" petition, CORD was formed in May, 2007. This petition arose as an overwhelmingly negative response to the coming of the over-sized 360 Smith Street Development at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place (Aka Oliver House; aka 131 Second Place). This petition, which had well over three thousand signatures, led to a new zoning text amendment in summer of 2008.

To: Our Elected Officials, Community Leaders, The MTA:
(MAY, 2007)

We the undersigned Carroll Gardens homeowners and residents, are appalled by the "as of right" ruling which allows owners and developers to erect buildings in our neighborhood with no regard to the impact they will present to our quality of life and the value of our homes........