State Senator Daniel Squadron released the following statement today regarding the EPA decision to include the Gowanus Canal on its Superfund National Priorities List:
“The Environmental Protection Agency made the right decision today by listing the Gowanus Canal as a Superfund site, a designation I have advocated for since May.
“After hearing from hundreds of interested parties and carefully reviewing the status of the cleanup site, the EPA reached the same conclusion I did: designating this waterway as a Superfund site is simply the most reliable way to ensure we have the dollars and the coordination to undo years of environmental damage. I commend the EPA not only for its conclusion but for its commitment to transparency and participation throughout the process. Since the listing was first proposed in April 2009, the EPA has included the community in its deliberations at every step of the way--a precedent that bodes well as we undertake such a complex cleanup effort together.
“Having achieved a Superfund listing, we must now ensure that the cleanup is transparent and effective, and that the community is included in the process of planning and oversight. As the community has long argued, the canal and surrounding area must be cleaned comprehensively--the cleanup must address the silt in the canal bed, the water itself and the upland portions of the site. Further, the EPA must guarantee that its work complements existing efforts to clean the canal and revitalize the community. Specifically, acknowledging the value of the City's construction of a flushing tunnel to address Combined Sewer Overflow pollution is critical, as is working cooperatively with DEC to approve the needed barrier along the embankment of the Public Place site.
“Working efficiently and with the community, the EPA will be a welcome partner in the effort to clean the Gowanus Canal.”