The largest polluters of Newtown Creek and environs have agreed, with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, to look at the damage. This will be the first step in the process of cleaning up Newtown Creek, which was declared a Superfund site last year by the EPA. The $25 million “investigation of the contamination” will be a process of several years, according to the EPA, before possible remedies can be suggested.

Since the discovery of the Greenpoint Oil Spill beneath northern Brooklyn in 1979, pressure has mounted, at glacial speeds, to form such an agreement. Newtown Creek, an estuary that meets the East River and separates Brooklyn from Queens for three-and-a-half miles, is one of the most polluted waterways in the country.

The six parties in the agreement include Phelps Dodge (now owned by Freeport-McMoRan); Texaco; BP (using Google Earth, take a look from above at the BP tanks {which used to belong to Amoco} sitting on the shores of Newtown Creek, for just about the Howdiest welcome to NYC one could find); National Grid (which used to be Brooklyn Union Gas Company, they operate the enormous Keyspan Greenpoint Energy Center); ExxonMobil (who is already busy pumping the oil out from beneath the neighborhood); and the City of New York (lots of sewage made its way straight into the Creek for many years, in the time before it was cooked in the building and disposed of as fine bacteria).

The investigation, which will begin this summer, will inspect not only the Creek, but surrounding soil and air. Many homes in the neighborhood have already been equipped by the EPA with devices to deter renegade benzene vapors from the Oil Spill from hanging around inside the homes. What else can’t we handle?


For a look from the polluters point of view, peruse the ExxonMobile Greenpoint Remediation Project website. There is a video which speaks glowingly of the 21 recovery wells currently sucking the oil out from beneath the neighborhood, a combined effort between EM, BP and Chevron Texaco. The three claim to “have recovered more than 11 million gallons of oil” already, which is equivalent to the official amount given for the Exxon Valdez spill.

The recovered oil is what they call “Free Product,” meaning it is floating around in the world uncontained. Perhaps also meaning that they get to refine and sell it.

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