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Lawmakers want feds to declare Newtown Creek a Superfund site

By: Hellen Kennedy

July 13, 2008

New York lawmakers asked the feds Sunday to help clean up Newtown Creek, the estuary that runs between Queens and Brooklyn, by declaring it a Superfund site.

The waterway, long a dumping ground for industrial and domestic waste, is one of America's most polluted places.

As many as 30million gallons of oil have been spilled there over the years.

Democratic Reps. Anthony Weiner and Nydia Velazquez, whose districts encompass the filthy creek, said a Superfund designation would start the slow flow of up to $15 million in federal cleanup funds.

They want the Environmental Protection Agency to start testing the waters immediately.

A Superfund designation would start a cleanup process that would take a decade, the lawmakers said.

"The contamination of Newtown Creek is nothing short of a human tragedy," Velazquez said. "The time to act is now.