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Gowanus Canal Committee

The Gowanus Canal Committee was formed over 2 years ago during the effort by the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2 and community activists concerned about getting the Canal to be placed on the National Priorities List, i.e. having the Canal declared a federal Superfund site, in order to ensure a planned, thorough cleanup of this highly polluted body of water. There are many industries that have and some that still do exist on the Canal that is what remains what was still a wetlands in the early 19th century.  Many potentially responsible parties (PRPs in the EPA vernacular) have been identified who were the sources of the pollution in the Canal and many, where there are still viable entities (e.g., National Grid, originally Brooklyn Union Gas), to some branches of the Department of Defense, are or will become part of the cleanup by providing the funds/contracting services. This effort to negotiate with the PRP’s is still taking place.

At the onset of the designation of Superfund status, EPA required input from the community.   EPA received over 1300 comments, more than for any other site in the United States.  The NYC Group of the Sierra Club was very active in this process.

The Community Advisory Group (CAG), which has about 60 members, was formed under the auspices of EPA to be a conduit for suggestions from the community, community groups and residents and for sending information to the community.  The Sierra Club NYC Group sits on this committee and has agreed to continue to do so throughout the cleanup process which is estimated to take 10 to 12 years. Members of the Sierra Club have been invited to participate in the planning process by becoming active on the Sierra Club Gowanus Canal Committee.

CAG meeting are open to the public.  Participation is limited to CAG members and representatives of elected officials and state and local environmental agency representatives.  However, members of the Sierra Club who have suggestions to enhance the cleanup process are encouraged to send  brief statement to Diane Buxbaum, who will, as the opportunity arises,bring them to the CAG.  Also, Sierra Club members are encouraged to join the Gowanus Canal Committee.

Suggestions to the CAG should be in the form of a brief, clear statement. Suggestions or requests to become a committee member, should be sent to Diane Buxbaum,  Please put “Sierra Club/CAG” in the subject line.

For information about upcoming meetings, click here.  So far as possible, I will post the meeting dates on our website.