The battle over the massive Gowanus rezoning plan roiling Brooklyn involves urgent environmental issues that we ignore at our physical and moral peril.

The latest news is the discovery by a longtime Gowanus blogger that lethal coal tar poisoning land next to the canal had, as early as 2005, migrated beyond that land and slithered underneath existing buildings to the north, the canal itself and beyond to the east and Smith St. to the west. Katia Kelly dug into official archives maintained by National Grid, which is responsible for the site cleanup, and foundĀ proof of the migration. Neither the utility nor the state Department of Environmental Conservation overseeing the cleanup ever announced it publicly.

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Photo Credit: City of New York