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The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group is deeply gratified that dredging of the upper portion of the canal is getting underway today. It’s truly a momentous day for Gowanus. The start of dredging comes just over 10 years from the date of the first meeting of the Community Advisory Group, which convened in October, 2010, and many founding CAG members are still engaged and actively providing EPA with the community’s point of view. We’ve looked forward to this day for a long time, as it marks the beginning of the actual removal of contaminants from the canal, and while we know the complete cleanup will by necessity proceed for another decade, we’re excited that a cleaner, healthier Gowanus Canal is on the horizon. We thank the EPA for their steadfast commitment to a clean canal, and for their partnership in reaching this historic moment and in the work ahead.

We’d specifically like to extend our gratitude to the EPA staff we’ve worked so closely with from day one: Project Manager Christos Tsiamis, Community Involvement Coordinator Natalie Loney, Assistant Regional Counsel Brian Carr, and Deputy Regional Administrator Walter Mugdan. And while he’s a relative newcomer, we greatly appreciate the leadership of Regional Administrator Pete Lopez.

We’d also like to thank Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, who was instrumental in the canal’s designation as a Superfund site, as well as Council Members Brad Lander and Steve Levin and Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, among others, for their ongoing support. Thank you, too, to CAG Facilitator Doug Sarno, for always keeping us moving in the right direction.

For those unfamiliar with the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group, we’re the official community forum for dialogue among representatives of all segments of the community about the federal Superfund clean-up of the canal. We formed soon after the Gowanus Canal was designated a Superfund site, and are the largest U.S. EPA Superfund Community Advisory Group in the nation. We’re comprised of representatives from civic, environmental, business and community organizations, as well as individual members, from neighborhoods around the Canal, including Red Hook, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and Park Slope.

We’re excited today for the start of dredging, and what it means for the future of this long-neglected body of water.

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