Monday, February 28, 2011

Government Shutdown Could Halt Gowanus, Newtown Creek Cleanups

 March 4 is the deadline for the administration and congressional leaders to reach some kind of agreement before the U.S. government shuts down.

According to the Washington Post, the first Clinton-era government shutdown in '95 led to the furlough of about 800,000 federal employees, and the second in '96 furloughed about 284,000.

While national security and some other functions continued, national parks closed; phones went unanswered; bureaus stopped processing applications including visas and passports;  many federal contracts were frozen; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped disease surveillance; and toxic waste cleanup projects at 609 sites were halted, causing the furlough of 2,400 Superfund workers.

If the same agencies close their doors during the possible March 4 shutdown, cleanup will grind to a halt at Brooklyn's toxic waste sites at the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek.

The Gowanus Canal "is heavily polluted with PAHs, PCBs, heavy metals, and sewage," according to the latest EPA report. On March 8 at 6:30 p.m., the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group, is set to hold its next meeting at the Old American Can Factory at 232 Third Ave.
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Anonymous said...

In last Wednesday's meeting with the EPA they explained that they have the funding to carry out the Gowanus cleanup--all the way to the end.

Anonymous said...

According to the Daily News, cleanup work at toxic Superfund sites would be halted during a government shutdown (funded or not).

mcbrooklyn said...

Superfund cleanup work that was not categorized as an emergency was shut down during the last government shutdown. "The vast majority of the 18,000 employees on EPA's payroll could not set foot on the premises." See

mcbrooklyn said...

PS But hope you're right!