Queens Wants Equal Attention from EPA During Newtown Creek Cleanup

Newtown Creek, a heavily polluted waterway that separates Queens and Brooklyn, was given designation last month that will allow it to be cleaned up under the federal Superfund program. Now a group of elected officials is calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not to forget the Queens side of the creek. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney says so far, the EPA hasn't studied the creek's impact on Queens communities.

"In all of their preliminary work, they more or less focused only on Kings County, or Brooklyn," Maloney said. "We want them to give equal treatment to both sides, not only in their sampling, not only in their cleanup, but in their research." Maloney is currently running for re-election.

The EPA issued a statement today saying that agency does plan to sample water and sediment from Queens tributaries, which include Dutch Kills, Maspeth Creek and East Branch.

Newtown Creek has been the site of 150 years of industrial pollution, including a massive underground oil spill in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Three of the biggest polluters, oil companies BP, ExxonMobil and Texaco, are expected to pay the lion's share of the cleanup costs, which are currently estimated to be around $400 million dollars.