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EPA’s Gowanus Canal cleanup will move forward despite budget cuts

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Concerns about dwindling funds have been allayed by the EPA

Eastern Effects Gowanus tour Photo by Max Touhey

Just days after the Brooklyn Paper learned that the Environmental Protection Agency may run out of funds to clean up the Gowanus Canal due to the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts, the clean up’s future might be saved.

A spokesperson for the EPA is now telling the Brooklyn Paper that funds to clean up the noxious canal have been secured for the immediate future. At a community meeting on Tuesday, the project manager on the cleanup informed locals that the money for the cleanup would likely dry up by April 18, subsequently prolonging effort for years. He said his attempts to reach the EPA and his requests for additional funds had come up empty.

It now turns out that the EPA was just in the midst of securing those funds and wasn’t able to offer a confirmation by Tuesday’s meeting. The agency wouldn’t tell the Brooklyn Paper how much it had offered the project, but the project manager on the cleanup, Christos Tsiamis, had requested between $400,000-$600,000.

The funds are dwindling largely because the organizations who were responsible for polluting the waters haven’t coughed up all the requisite funds yet, but the spokesperson for the EPA told the Brooklyn Paper that they hope to reach a settlement within the next six to 12 months.

The New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman had previously expressed fears about the proposed budget cuts to the EPA impacting superfund programs like the Gowanus Canal cleanup, but for now at least, those fears have been allayed.