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On Tuesday, July 18, Gov. Hochul swooped into the Gowanus community to hold a Press Conference at the building formerly known as the Batcave, now Gowanus Powerhouse Arts.
The Governor came to announce her plans to reconstitute a contrived version of the failed 421a tax exemption, a NY State developer funding program that was supposed to bring affordable housing into NYC but did the opposite. Our state legislature no longer supports the program given its failure to address the decades of growth in unaffordable housing, however, the Governor intends to implement this new action by executive order. Because as she sees it,
"where some see neglect, I see neighborhoods. Where some see blight, I see beauty... And where some see a hell hole I see homes." youtube link
Yet the process of fixing our Gowanus 'hell hole' requires careful compliance oversight by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to ensure that the legacy and ongoing toxic pollution adheres to all federal and State environmental laws.
And, by the way, thank you again to the 130 residents of our community who wrote Gov. Hochul demanding a full clean up of our toxic land to pre-disposal conditions. Please take a moment to read some of those letters here.
Unfortunately, the Governor's response to our request for a full clean up, came in this following statement during her draconian Press Conference on Tuesday. Raising some serious concerns about her commitment to the environment.
"I'm asking the DEC and Department of State to just, can you streamline a little bit? Do we have to really be the toughest state for doing all this? It's not necessary." Watch on youtube
Voice of Gowanus finds this absolutely outrageous. Inappropriate and undue influence by the Governor on state agencies to look the other way on the health and safety regulations is deplorable. Our environmental laws were enacted to protect all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable communities from dire risk from flooding, polluted water, poisoned land, carcinogenic vapors, left from legacy heavy industries.
The Governor celebrated her attempts to circumvent health and safety and the rule of law by asserting: “When there’s a roadblock you go over here and you zig zag around. That’s what we’re very good at here.” And from that, she signed her orders and left Gowanus like a bat out of hell.