Just felt compelled to say something about the Superfund status recently given to the Gowanus canal.
Everyone agrees that the canal needs to cleaned up. But here has been a lot of debate as to who should do it. The EPA is now saying they will take the reins, sue the people responisble for the pollution, and clean the canal in 12 years.
Mayor Bloomberg thinks the city could have cleaned up he canal more quickly by getting polluters and developers to voluntarily contribute to the clean up.
Mike, really? C’mon! Toll Brothers wanted to start building right away, toxic waste dump or not. Developers don’t care about the consequences. Build, sell, move on. That’s the developer creedo! The canal has been an industrial dumping ground for over 100 years. It will take at least a dozen years to clean regardless who is doing it.
I mean, really?!?
I feel bad for the residents who are upset because of the stigma and loss in property value that comes with a Superfund brand. But trust me, that stigma would be a lot worse if it wasn’t cleaned up, and people started developing cancer and high rates of birth defects.
But we really should look at what’s important, and that isn’t property values, or how long its going to take. What is important is knowing the risks of living on a toxic dump. And the thing that really scares me isn’t the mercury, lead, PCBs, that they already now is there, but god knows what else is buried in the muck that they don’t know about.
Having the feds decontaminate the canal isn’t ideal (the government is never swift), but they do have a decent track record for cleaning up some of the worst hazardous waste sites. And at least they are not on some real estate developers pay roll (as far as I know.)