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The biggest story on our award-winning Web site this week was our coverage of the federal move to place the Gowanus Canal on the national Superfund list. Most of our commenters want to see the canal cleaned up, but there was a considerable debate about the best way to go about it. Here are some excerpts:

If the water is toxic, isn’t the ground water nearby also toxic? Toll Brothers wants to build on this? I don’t get it. Who would want to live there? Maybe they weren’t going to tell the residents. Not to mention the human waste issue during heavy rain.

Would Superfund designation solve this problem? Once again, who would want to live there?Steve Shooman, Boerum Hill

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So let me understand this, refuse the fed money, give the developers tax incentives, the city will still have to clean this place up. Are they forgetting the deficit this state is running?

Where are the elected officials? I guess this is a conflict of interest, they can’t oppose big donors (Toll Brothers) or go against the voters. This is so depressing! I hope they accept this fund. I hope to take a ride Venice style in a few years!

Judah Spechal, Bedford-Stuyvesant

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“Before OR after”?! The cleanup HAS TO HAPPEN BEFORE! The soil around the canal is contaminated for 50 yards on either side and 35 feet down. It has to go or be neutralized before being sealed. It’s called science.

So did Debra Scotto recuse herself from all the discussions at CB6, or does conflict of interest mean nothing in the Markowitz-purged board? As a resident, I am outraged that she is allowing herself to be used as a mouthpiece by the Toll Brothers PR firm!TomTom, Park Slope

After reading all the coverage, its a touch depressing how unorganized the opposition is. There are the dredgers who want to be able to canoe during the clean-up, some pols who wonder what will happen to the flushing tunnel money, the folks who are still pining for a manufacturing district, etc.

It all is frustrating when you’ve already seen how quickly the Toll Brothers have organized to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt.

It seems to come down to a simple question: should the canal be cleaned before or after development? All the rest is details. I think organizing around this simple principle and looping in other constituent groups would be the most helpful (don’t Park Slopers worry about hazardous stuff in the air and in the water?).

But who is taking the lead among the opposition? It seems there need to be some improved organizing and unity here — after all, who among the non-developers in the neighborhood is really against a multi-million dollar clean-up for the canal to make sure all of us residents are safe?

I.M. Green, Gowanus

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I.M. Green asks a good question.

Please tell me why “industrial pollutants, PCBs, metals and pesticides,” and “untreated human waste” are preferable to a federally funded cleanup.

Or are those things an integral part of “the character and value of our community”?Ecologue, South Brooklyn

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There are more members of CB6 besides Deb Scotto that give the appearance of a conflict of interest. They advocated for the Toll Brothers project and have ties to the real-estate industry.

I am property owner across the street from the canal and I welcome a proper and comprehensive clean-up. Isn’t this what the Scotto group has advocated for all these years? You would think they would welcome this. Something stinks and it ain’t the canal.Gowanusdog, Gowanus

Updated 5:12 pm, July 9, 2018
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