In 1978 a US Coast Guard helicopter on a routine check spotted oil spilling into Newtown Creek. An estimated 30 million gallons leaked into the soil and water, causing health and environmental problems to the residents of Greenpoint – human and otherwise – ever since.

Look how pretty that toxic site is though!

This week, 36 years after the spill was first noticed, the government will receive more money to clean up the site from the people responsible for turning the creek into a polluted waterway. On Tuesday, the US government reached a settlement with Getty Petroleum which will pump an additional $16 million into the clean up of the designated Superfund site. As reported in the New York Post, Getty filed for bankruptcy back in 2011 and the federal government will receive the $16 million as part of that process.

The Superfund program allows the Environmental Protection Agency to make sure polluters – not taxpayers – pay for the clean up when these kinds of environmental disasters occur. Yay Superfund! (Well not yay Superfund sites, but yay this law!)

In a statement Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said “For more than a century, irresponsible industrial activities turned Newtown Creek into a tributary of toxic waste. Today’s settlement ensures that Getty takes responsibility for its contribution to that sad legacy, and pays a fair share of clean-up costs at the site.”


As reported in the Courthouse News Service, $14.8 million will go to the EPA to help pay back the money they’ve already spent on cleanup and $1.16 million will go the Interior Department* and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for damage to natural resources and assessment costs.

Cleaning up Newtown Creek has already been a long, challenging process and that probably will be the case for years to come. Hopefully with these additional resources the work will continue, and Greenpointers will be able to enjoy a less toxic home soon.

*I cannot mention the Interior Department without notifying everyone of how on point their social media game is. Seriously, go follow all their accounts.

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  1. I can’t believe NAG considers this informative. Of course they do, as they are another ‘community group’ that likes to pat themselves on the back and the less you know the better.

    Information, this spill was not a singular event:

    Important to recognize EXXON is spending money on Greenpoint nonsense, even though it was not responsible for Newtwon Creek’s pollution, rather its recently acquired subsidiary Mobil.


    Information, crazy Nixon passed the one of the most powerful environmental pieces of legislation, The Clean Water Act. Oh ew though that introduced sewage treatment plants to the city. Something most community groups would protest.

    A lot of attention and money is being spent on researching cleaning up the mess, how much is being spent on the clean up itself? And is the cleanup counterproductive considering we continue to pollute this body of water with CSOs and rogue oil dumpers? Were you aware Greenpoint Landing had such little knowledge of their site that they were unaware of a CSO on their property. Where is that output being redirected?

    Because we fretted over pretend affordable housing our shores will now continue the tradition of contributing to waterpolution, by shoving the problem to the perimeter instead of dealing with it.

  2. Or perhaps worse than pushing the problem (garbage) to the perimeter, we are now integrating the problem into high density existing neighborhoods, all for the sake of being fair rather logical.

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