ExxonMobil’s plans to build a groundwater treatment facility could impact the Greenpoint oil spill remediation process, a move that has some Greenpoint residents concerned. 

ExxonMobil, one of the energy conglomerates responsible for the massive spill, recently submitted a permit modification to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to consolidate their two treatment facilities into one facility at Varick Street.

The local environmental group Newtown Creek Alliance worries that this relocation could hinder ExxonMobil’s ability to remediate the site and potentially concentrate discharge activities to one spot at the end of Meeker Avenue (Penny Bridge). If ExxonMobil leaves its 10-acre site at Kingsland Avenue, the empty site will be up for sale, and it’s unclear who might purchase it.

The group writes on its website that “the closure will allow Exxon to sell this property to the highest bidder, opening up opportunities for yet another last-mile delivery facility that will further pollute the air in Greenpoint, pose increased health risks for nearby residents and workers, and contribute to the climate crisis.” 

The Greenpoint oil spill, one of the largest in United States history, estimated at between 17 and 30 million gallons, was first discovered in 1978 (though it had been accumulating decades before). The work to clean up the spill has been slow-moving, thanks partly to energy companies’ reluctance to take responsibility. According to the DEC, over 13 million gallons of the spill have been cleaned up as of March 2024.


ExxonMobil and the DEC will host a virtual public meeting on Thursday, May 9, starting at 6:30 p.m. Find out additional information about the meeting and the remediation process at this fact sheet here.

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