(DNAINFO) By Leslie Albrecht | January 24, 2017 — EPA officials are free to talk about the “nuts and bolts” of the cleanup, one official told residents.
The Gowanus Canal Superfund cleanup will move forward, no matter who’s in the White House, an official with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assured worried locals at a meeting Tuesday night.
Hours after news broke that President Donald Trump had ordered EPA employees to stop communicating with the media, and a day after Trump put a freeze on EPA grants and contracts, Gowanus residents gathered for a regularly scheduled monthly meeting where federal EPA officials give updates on the $506 million Superfund cleanup of the contaminated canal.
EPA’s community involvement coordinator, Natalie Loney, wasted no time addressing “the elephant in the room,” as she called it.
“We are going to move forward with the cleanup,” Loney said, noting that the cleanup plan for the canal had been written into law and couldn’t be renegotiated.
“The Superfund law was written so it wouldn’t be buffeted by the sways of political changes within the administration,” Loney said.
As for fears that Congress could slow the cleanup down by de-funding Superfund, Loney said that wouldn’t affect the cleanup of the canal, because the Gowanus cleanup is being paid for by the companies who polluted the canal, not by federal dollars, Loney said.