In a rare defeat for Mayor Bloomberg and his powerful pals in Big Development, the Environmental Protection Agency has seen obvious sense and designated the long-putrid Gowanus Canal a Superfund Site. They thus rejected Bloomberg's hastily and cynically constructed plan to clean up the canal, which was nothing but a chimera designed to preserve the ravenous and selfish interests of the Troll, er, Toll Brothers, who planned to building a series of towers alongside the poisoned canal. How interesting and strange, in today's New York, for the interests of the greater community to be put ahead of a single wealthy developer. And how typical that such a decision has to come from outside the City. Little Boy Bloomberg, who thinks Wall Streeters deserve bigger raises and that rich people are the salt of the earth and the heart of this town, would never have for a second listened to the arguments of a community that thought the general welfare trumped private ambitions.
“After conducting our own evaluations and consulting extensively with the many people who have expressed interest in the future of the Gowanus Canal and the surrounding area, we have determined that a Superfund designation is the best path to a cleanup of this heavily contaminated and long-neglected urban waterway,” Judith Enck, the agency’s regional administrator, said in a statement.
The Toll Brothers, showing their true colors, and petty and vengeful to the end, said "Given the way Superfund sites work, it could be a decade or more from now before clean up starts. We just don't have that time horizon. We will most likely walk away from the properties." Great supporters of the community, they. Real loyal. Did they think the City plan was going to take six months? No. Because it was fictional. The City would have done squat if the EPA has decided not to confer Superfund status and went away. That's the "time horizon" Toll wanted to work with. The real contest here was always a Real Cleanup (the EPA version) vs. No Cleanup (the true City version). That's why it was so easy for people like me and other South Brooklyn activists to make a decision.
And besides, the E.P.A. readily estimated that the federal cleanup would last 10 to 12 years and cost $300 million to $500 million. Big cleanups take time. And the Gowanus has been steadily polluted for decades.
Now we just await Bloomberg's stubborn, childish condemnation of the EPA's ruling. Let's hope this is only the first policy defeat in the robber baron's ill-gotten third term.