The Gowanus Canal Committee was formed over 2 years ago during the effort by the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2 and community activists concerned with getting the Canal placed on the National Priorities List, i.e. declared a federal Superfund site, which would ensure a planned, thorough cleanup of this highly polluted body of water. Many industries have occupied, and some that still do, the Canal shorelines, the remains of what was a wetlands in the early 19th century. Many companies and organizations have been identified as sources of pollution in the Canal, Some still exist, such as National Grid, formerly Brooklyn Union Gas, and including some branches of the Department of Defense. These organizations, designated potentially responsible parties (PRPs in the EPA vernacular), are or will become part of the cleanup by providing funds and/or contracting services. This effort to negotiate with the PRPa is still taking place.
From the onset of Superfund designation, 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 formed a Community Advisory Group (CAG), with about 60 members under the auspices of EPA as a source of suggestions and as a conduit for suggestions from the community for the cleanup process, and as a conduit for information to the community Members of the Sierra Club NYC Group sit on this committee and will continue to do so throughout the cleanup process, 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, if any members of the Sierra Club have suggestions that could enhance the cleanup process, they are encouraged to send them in a brief statement to Diane Buxbaum, who will as the opportunity arises bring them to the CAG. Sierra Club members are encouraged to join the Gowanus Canal Committee.
To submit brief, clear suggestions and/or to become a committee member, contact Diane Buxbaum, firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put Sierra Club/CAG in the title line.
Usually the following URL is the source of information about current meetings: http://www.epa.gov/region2/superfund/npl/gowanus/ However as far as possible, I will try to post the meeting dates on our website. Diane Buxbaum, Chair.