The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for June 1st, 2012

The Blissville Oil Spill, update

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queries were sent out to various parties about the status of the Blissville Oil Spill on the Newtown Creek, and this statement was received from the good folks at Riverkeeper:

“Riverkeeper is concerned about the apparent lack of maintenance of both the hard and absorbent booms that are supposed to be keeping oil from seeping into the Creek,” said Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River Program Director at Riverkeeper. “We take any oil pollution in the Hudson River and NY Harbor extremely seriously, and fully expect DEC and the site owner to do the same.”

As an admission, these shots were gathered on board the Riverkeeper patrol boat, whose Captain was gracious enough to consent to my request to get close to the Blissville site.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The situation of the Northern Bank of the Newtown Creek, in Queens, was first commented on at this- your Newtown Pentacle- in the December of 2011 posting “An oil spill… in Queens“, and further views were presented in March of 2012 in “Blissville Update“.

Kate Zidar, executive director of the Newtown Creek Alliance (a group of which I am a member and for which I serve as historian) said:

“If we have learned anything from the Greenpoint Oil Spill it should be that seepage from the bulkhead can indicate a much larger issue for the adjacent neighborhood. We can’t claim ignorance of what the seepage at this Blissville Site could indicate. We need to understand the extent of this contamination and get the right mitigations in place ASAP.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It should be mentioned that private conversations with State and City officials have continued, but not too much seems to be happening. The investigation into the matter is seeking out culpable parties, and deciding on a course of action to follow. In their defense, the officialdom referred to above very well might be legally constrained from public comment at this point, so I’m willing to give them a pass.

For now.

Of course, while everyone is figuring out who to sue, oil is still seeping out into the water.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s no secret that the short end of the stick, from a municipal point of view, is offered routinely to Queens (and the Bronx) by the powers that are. Neither is it a revelation that if this were an ongoing event on the Hudson River that everybody from the Mayor and Governor on down would be posing next to it and rendering funding to seal things up tight.

This is however- the Newtown Creek- and in particular on the side of the Creek where the borough motto should be “Welcome to Queens, now go fuck yourself”, and I said that.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A recent posting at the Newtown Creek Alliance website, detailing what Riverkeeper’s patrol experienced during a rain event on the Newtown Creek, showed that these booms are easily swept out of position but “Welcome to Queens”. This event has been ongoing since mid 2011 but “Welcome to Queens”. Wells sunk at nearby properties already administered by environmental officials have revealed some seven feet of oil sitting over the water table, but “Welcome to Queens”.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Lords and Ladies, how long is long enough for oil to be directly seeping into area waterways?

Look at what is happening on the surface here and ask yourself the familiar question- Who can guess, all there is, that might be buried down there?

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