Velazquez on Gowanus Canal Agreement
Rejects Eminent Domain; Calls for Protection of Jobs in Tank Siting Process
Washington, DC – Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) released the following statement regarding the recent agreement for tank placement as part of the cleanup of the Gowanus Canal:
“I am pleased the City has agreed to building the tanks to reduce Contaminated Sewage Overflow (CSO) for a cleaner Gowanus Canal. In preserving urban parkland, EPA has accepted the City's request for an alternate location across the street from Thomas Greene Park. While the City has taken steps to preserve all the existing open park space, it should be just as careful when it comes to protecting small businesses and local jobs.
“Going forward, we must be certain that the staging of the construction is done in a manner that minimizes impacts on the area’s businesses, jobs and, in particular, a busy local television production studio. I visited the Eastern Effects facility that employs over 200 people during shoots and at least 30 people off season. I am pleased to hear that NYC DEP staff is now visiting the facility, as well.
“In all cases, eminent domain should be avoided. EPA did not require that NYC exercise eminent domain. EPA has acknowledged in their comments a willingness to work with the City to find alternative approaches that do not require the exercise of eminent domain for obtaining land for the CSO retention tank and the staging area.
“We should be clear the agreement does not hinge on where the tank construction staging site is located and there should be flexibility and adjustments as to how the staging is designed. In that regard, I encourage agencies at all levels of government to engage with the community on the design and work with local businesses to minimize displacement.
“I look forward to working with the City to find a solution that has the least impact on businesses and local employment.”
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