Thursday, December 17, 2009
City and EPA: Bad Romance?
There is only one week left to send in public comments to the EPA concerning whether Newtown Creek should be a federal superfund site. Everybody has been weighing in on this, from Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, to local business leaders like MetroEnergy's Paul Pullo, to environmental advocates like Newtown Creek Alliance's Kate Zidar and Riverkeeper's John Liscomb. In fact, WNYC interviewed pretty much all of these guys earlier this week.
But the people to keep an eye on most is the city of New York, which is formulating what is expected to be close to a 100-page formal response to the EPA's Superfund listing. Over the past two weeks, the city has had meetings with elected officials, community residents at a public forum at Automotive High School, and with the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee to give their presentation about the Creek.
Not to be outdone, the EPA has had its own meetings with Greenpoint and Williamsburg residents , highlighted by a presentation to Community Board One's Environmental Committee (aka the Love Canal meeting).
As I noted in that article, the buzz word at many of these meetings is "collaboration". I've been hearing it from both EPA officials and reps from the DEP and the Deputy Mayor's office. It sounds like the agencies are trying hard to cozy up to each other, but with a number of questions relating to dredging, costs to local industry, and parks permitting, you have to yourself, does this have the makings of...