Hello from CORD!
A meeting of the general Gowanus CAG was held on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 6:30 PM, at the Brooklyn Historical Society on Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights.
Despite the fact that we are in the midst of summer, a combination of twenty three (23) organizations and at large members were in attendance as well as several members of the general public, city and state agency personnel and elected officials' representatives.
Facilitator Jeff Edelstein handed out brief synopses of committee meeting events/discussions as well as a list of the committees who have created mission statements, as required by the Charter, for several of the existing committees, including, Administrative, Archaeology Water Quality, Technical and Outreach.
For the first time in a quite a while, the general group had the opportunity to share information regarding the various committee activities and to catch up on what has been going on, at Committee level on each of the above sub groups. Present Committee members gave a brief update on each of their committee's activities and plans.
Highlights of these committee activities included: the Water Quality Committee inviting DEP to the September general CAG meeting and developing a fact sheet in cooperation with the Outreach Committee. Outreach will be working on internal website for communication among CAG members and exploring the idea of a CAG public website as well as how to engage area school children in Canal discussions. The Administrative Committee is still compiling the results of the Membership Status Check, working on a record keeping system to track attendance and creating a database/directory of contact information for each active CAG member that will be handed over to the Outreach Committee for their use. Archaeology is developing a walking tour to be done with the EPA sometime in the Fall as well as developing a slide show about the history of the Canal. And the Technical Committee's activities included discussions about the upland sites, TASC and the state health risk assessement study. (Please read on to see how that committee's discussions has prompted action by the CAG)
As required by the Charter, many of the above sub committees accomplished the task of creating mission statements. These were reviewed by the entire group and adopted by the group via vote. (the specific adopted mission statements for each of the committees will soon be available along with each meetings official minutes on the EPA website---[PLACE LINK HERE] )
It was revealed that a community group has requested TASC assistance from the EPA. TASC is an EPA funded program which provides a technical expert (chosen by the EPA) to explain the very complicated technical information revealed through the Remedial Investigation the Health Risk Assessement, etc.
Should the EPA grant the TASC request and provide that technical expert, the general CAG will provide the input as to exactly which areas the community would like the technical expert to address. CORD will, of course, keep you updated on this issue and as always, requests your questions and concerns to be directed to us through our email, CGCORD@GMAIL.COM, so that we may bring your issues to the CAG for discussion and your clarification.
A discussion regarding the cleanup of the three uplands manufactured gas plant (MGP) sites, which is currently under the purview of the New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) brownfield program followed. The group discussed the benefits/drawbacks of the EPA taking over the supervision of these sites as part of the Gowanus Superfund. Most agreed that a more streamlined process which allowed for one agency to have control over the entire area, rather than a more parsed approach as it now stands, would be beneficial to all.
A proposal to inform the EPA that the CAG would like to see the EPA expand the parameters of the current Superfund site to include the three MGP uplands sites as part of the Gowanus Superfund was introduced, voted upon and vigorously approved by a vote of 19 yes- 1 no and 1 abstention. Members representing Gowanus Green and Fifth Avenue Committee, both with substantial financial interest in one of the sites, (Public Place), recused themselves from the vote as required by the Charter, under the Conflict of Interest clause. Both organizations were of course, permitted to participate in the conversation and although disallowed a vote on the issue, they both supported any move that would streamline the Superfund process.
It was agreed that Facilitator, Jeff Edelstein would contact the EPA via email regarding the approved CAG proposal, and ask the EPA to come and speak with us regarding their position and ability to either comply with this request/recommendation or not.
Lastly, New York State does its own health risk assessment study under the acronym, ATSDR. It was agreed upon by the CAG that the Facilitiator would request methodology information from New York State regarding this study so that the CAG could understand exactly what this study means to the community....stay tuned.
Once again, if you have any questions or concerns that you would like CORD to bring up at any of the sub committee or general meetings, please send them in to CGCORD@GMAIL.COM .
We will bring your issues to the group and advise you of their response as we move forward. This is a very complicated, very expensive project and we are only going to get one shot at getting this clean up right. Let's all keep active and interested in what is going on, literally, under our noses-----