A STENCH GROWS IN BROOKLYN
For the last thirty day's we've watched in horror as over 200,000 gallons of oil gush everyday into the Gulf of Mexico. Sounds like one of our worst environmental disasters. Or is it?
What New Yorker's don't know is that one of the worst environmental disasters sits in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Newtown Creek, roughly 55 acres wide and 25 feet deep, has an estimated 30 million gallons of oil, as well as carcinogenic chemicals such as benzene and naptha, sitting in the soil.
In the late 1800's Standard Oil began dumping excess fuels into the water resulting in an underground explosion in 1950. Federal officials didn't recognize the problem till 1978, and in 2009 Newtown Creek was designated a Superfund site.
The results are the residents of Greenpoint, Brooklyn have the highest incidences of leukemia among children, and stomach cancer in adults.
Water quality problems remain, and in 2009 a jury ordered that Exxon Mobil pay the City of New York 104 million dollars, a drop in the bucket of what it takes to clean up the site. For the people of Greenpoint, so far nothing has happened, and nothing will.
I'm pleased to see Senator Schumer on TV pulling all nighters for the cameras dealing with those dramatic gushing underground hoses in the gulf. But I can't help but wonder why it's taken all those decades to see the disaster sitting outside our window.
John O'Hara is an Attorney. He lives in Brooklyn.
Post new comment