The North Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint has a history of both pollution and environmental activism, as community residents and activists have banded together, sometimes with the aid of their local representatives, to fight highly polluting facilities and practices situated in a now rapidly being gentrified traditionally working-class and Polish immigrant neighborhood.
Over the last 30 years, the huge Greenpoint incinerator, which was out of compliance with all state, city, and federal regulations was closed, and after an increasing series of highly odorous releases from the Sewage Treatment Plant, the city was compelled to control the outflows and build a vastly expanded facility. Greenpoint’s Newtown Creek sits atop one of the worst oil spills in United States history. 17 to 30 million gallons of oil are believed to have been seeping into the groundwater since the 1950’s, with a recent lawsuit against ExxonMobil, BP and Chevron Corporation resulting in a 19 million dollar fund for environmental community projects. Check out the Newtown Creek Alliance (great green roof!) and North Brooklyn Neighbors, and get involved!