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September 24, 2009
2:35 PM

CONTACT: Riverkeeper

Ramona Cearley
914-478-4501 x 235

Riverkeeper Supports EPA’s Proposal to Consider Newtown Creek for Superfund Status

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. - September 24 - Riverkeeper commends the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its announcement yesterday to propose listing Newtown Creek on the National Priorities List (NPL) as a potential Superfund site.  Newtown Creek is a tributary of the Hudson and East Rivers, located between Brooklyn and Queens.  Decades of industrial pollution and raw sewage overflows have rendered the Creek one of the most highly polluted waterways in the United States.  EPA is expected to hold public meetings in Brooklyn in the coming weeks to explain its proposal and solicit public comment.  The public is also invited to submit comments in writing to the EPA until November 23, 2009.   Riverkeeper will review EPA's proposal and submit formal comments.  

"The EPA's decision to consider listing Newtown Creek as a Superfund site is the critical next step in the process of addressing a legacy of environmental contamination that continues to impact Greenpoint residents and the Creek itself.  Riverkeeper is grateful to Congresswoman Velazquez and Congressman Weiner for their support on this issue, and we will actively participate in this process as it moves forward to ensure that local residents' concerns are addressed, and a clear plan to clean up the Creek is put in place," said Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River Program Director for Riverkeeper.

Representative Anthony D. Weiner (D-9TH) said, "Oil companies continue to lag in their cleanup responsibilities and put the health and safety of Newtown Creek's residents at further risk. The EPA is taking action and will hold these companies responsible for their negligence. Riverkeeper has been a great advocate for cleaning up the most polluted waterway in New York City."

Riverkeeper began patrolling the Creek in 2002 in support of its mission to protect the Hudson River and enforce against polluters.  In 2004, Riverkeeper filed a federal lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corporation for its failure to stop the pollution of Greenpoint, Brooklyn and the Creek caused by a historic, 17 million gallon oil spill which resulted in a plume of contaminated groundwater under Greenpoint and the Creek.  In 2006, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Congressman Anthony Weiner led the effort to secure an independent study of public health and safety risks caused by the pollution, and began calling for EPA to consider Newtown Creek for Superfund status. In 2007, the New York State Attorney General filed a similar suit against Exxon. 

For more information on the history of Newtown Creek, Riverkeeper's involvement and the Superfund proposal, please visit our website at

The EPA's press release announcing its decision can be found at

Riverkeeper is an independent member-supported environmental organization. Riverkeeper's mission is to protect the Hudson River, and its tributaries, and the New York City drinking water supply.


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