We the undersigned, in an effort of protecting all waterways, seek a  thorough cleanup of the Gowanus Canal, followed by an environmentally sound comprehensive community derived plan for any development, and the perpetual monitoring of the area for pollutants.  We support the resolution submitted by the Sierra Club of New York.

The Gowanus Canal area (Brooklyn, New York)  is undergoing changes from its currently manufacturing zoned to proposed spot zoning residential.  As a result of this proposed change, the Gowanus environment, while already very damaged, will prevent its own vital and necessary natural remediation.  Natural remediation provides the most effective alternative in absence of a comprehensive government cleanup.

Over 50 years, the Gowanus natural wetlands and habitat have been dangerously compromised as a result of industrial pollution and lack of action by public or private cleanup.  This petition rejects this spot development along the canal as it endangers the health of local residents and the promise of any meaningful remediation. .  

NYC Group Resolution on the Gowanus Canal

(as adopted November 13, 2008)

The Sierra Club is dedicated to protecting the health of the land, the water, and all living things including human beings.  The Gowanus Canal area is a site where all the aforementioned need to be respected and tended to.  As an area that was heavily industrialized in the past, and is grossly polluted, the thorough cleaning of the soil and the water in and around the Gowanus Canal must be undertaken before it is considered for development.

The health of humans and all other living things must be the long range consideration of the remediation process.  Therefore the following must occur:

1. The identity of all the contaminants in the Gowanus Canal area as well as their exact location and pervasiveness must be determined. 
2. The degree to which all pollutants may migrate during the cleanup effort must be considered and taken into account. 
3. Procedures for the perpetual monitoring of the remediated area for any latent surfacing of pollution must be guaranteed. 
4. An ongoing health study must be established to ensure the safety of the area.

Once remediation of the area has occurred, a comprehensive plan with extensive public input must be developed.  This plan must take into consideration the condition of the soil and the water before appropriate uses of the land are decided.  The Sierra Club opposes any 'spot zoning' since it would circumvent this process.  In particular, we oppose the pending request by the Toll Brothers for a change in zoning from manufacturing to residential.  The area is currently unsuitable for residences for public health reasons and other environmental considerations.  Furthermore, the draft environmental impact statement of September 8, 2008 is defective in that it does not consider sea surge, sea-level rise, or Katrina-like storms.

The Sierra Club looks forward to the thorough cleanup of the Gowanus Canal, followed by an environmentally sound comprehensive community derived plan for development, and the perpetual monitoring of the area for pollutants.

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