Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced the addition of Newtown Creek between Brooklyn and Queens to the Superfund National Priorities List (“NPL”). The listing, which is expected to be formally published this Wednesday, will initiate an EPA-led cleanup of the Creek, beginning with a remedial investigation into the sources of contamination and an expanded search for potentially responsible parties (“PRPs”).
The 3.8 mile-long waterway contains decades of industrial contamination. It is the second Brooklyn waterway added to the federal Superfund list this year, as EPA designated the Gowanus Canal as an NPL site in March 2010. New York City, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and local community groups all supported Newtown Creek’s addition to the NPL. However, some have raised concerns regarding the listing’s potential effect on planned developments along the Creek, which include proposed affordable housing and open space.
EPA first proposed the Newtown Creek listing a year ago, taking public comment on its plan through last December. As of July 2010, EPA had identified six possible PRPs for the Newtown Creek contamination: BP America, Inc., Brooklyn Union Gas Company d/b/a National Grid NY, the City of New York, ExxonMobil Oil Corporation, Phelps Dodge Refining Corporation and Texaco, Inc. More PRPs are likely to be added following the listing as EPA attempts to recover its investigation and remediation costs.