FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG CALLS ON STATE LEGISLATORS TO ALLOW THE OPERATION OF A MARINE TRANSFER STATION ON GANSEVOORT PIER
Bill is the Final Legislative Hurdle to Implementing the City's Historic Solid Waste Management Plan that Will Ensure that Each Borough Can Handle Its Own Waste.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn today called on state legislators to pass legislation authorizing the construction and operation of a marine transfer station (MTS) to handle recyclable paper, metal, glass and plastic at Pier 52 on the Gansevoort Peninsula in Manhattan. The Gansevoort MTS is a critical component of the landmark Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) passed by the City Council last July. Once operational, the Gansevoort MTS will handle recyclable metal, glass and plastic generated in Manhattan that is currently trucked to facilities in the Bronx, Brooklyn and New Jersey. In addition, the new facility will free-up capacity at an existing transfer station at 59th Street on the Hudson River to handle Manhattan's commercial waste. The Gansevoort MTS will help to achieve one of the most important goals of the SWMP: ensuring that each borough has the capacity to handle its own waste and recyclables. Building the facility requires an amendment to the Hudson River Park Act, which must be passed by the State Senate and Assembly and signed into law.
At the announcement the Mayor and Speaker Quinn were joined by Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty; Sanitation and Solid Waste Management Committee Chair Michael E. McMahon; Council Member Sara Gonzalez; Council Member Letitia James; Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito; Council Member David Yassky; Council Member Robert Jackson; Council Member Diana Reyna; Alison Cordero, OWN (Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods) & Williamsburg / Greenpoint OUTRAGE (Organizations United for Trash Reduction and Garbage Equity); Alison Hirsch, New York League of Conservation Voters; Ramon Cruz, Environmental Defense; Elena Conte, Sustainable South Bronx; Joan Levine, West Harlem Sanitation Coalition and Elizabeth Yeampierre, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance and UPROSE (United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park).
"Our landmark Solid Waste Management Plan is environmentally responsible and economically sustainable, and based on the idea that each borough - including Manhattan - should take responsibility for handling its own refuse and recyclables," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The Council overwhelmingly passed the Solid Waste Management Plan because it is fair for all New Yorkers. Authorizing the operation of a marine transfer station on Gansevoort Pier is the next important step toward achieving a greener, greater City. It is time for the state legislature to do the right thing and pass this amendment to the Hudson River Park Act."
"For too long, the burden of the City's waste fell to a limited number of outer borough communities," said Speaker Quinn. "Last year the Council was proud to work with the Administration to pass a Solid Waste Management Plan built on the principles of borough equity and environmental responsibility. I am proud that my district has the opportunity to play an important role in this plan, with a recycling transfer facility that will take 30,000 truck miles off the roads each year while providing educational space to our community. I join the Mayor in urging the State Legislature to pass this amendment, so that we can move one step closer to becoming a cleaner and more equitable City."
"Together with Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn I urge the state legislature to allow the City's fair and equitable Solid Waste Management Plan to be implemented," said Chair McMahon. "For far too long certain communities and boroughs have borne an unfair burden by having to handle other communities' trash. The Mayor's plan is the best chance that the City has ever had to realize a plan that makes sense financially, environmentally, and equitably."
"The Gansevoort Marine Transfer Station will help relieve the burden on many neighborhoods throughout the City of New York who have been saddled with the lion's share of waste management problems," said Assembly Member Adriano Espaillat, who will introduce the legislation. "These neighborhoods currently experience some of the highest levels of asthma among children in New York City. This effort will help substantially reduce truck traffic in these neighborhoods therefore helping improve the air quality in the City of New York."
"The Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods strongly supports the full implementation of the City's Solid Waste Management Plan, including the Manhattan Recyclables Facility, because they move us to a system that is fair to everyone and environmentally responsible," said Alison Cordero of the Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods & Williamsburg/Greenpoint Organizations United for Trash Reduction and Garbage Equity. "It is only right that a Manhattan facility should handle Manhattans' recyclables. Blocking this facility weakens the Plan as a whole, and ensures that communities like ours will continue to be the waste receptacle for other New Yorkers."
"The Gansevoort Marine Transfer Station is an integral part of the City's Solid Waste Management Plan, which calls for an equitable distribution of waste transfer facilities throughout the city," said Marcia Bystryn, executive director of the New York League of Conservation Voters. "The development of a state-of-the-art, green recycling facility on the Gansevoort pier, as well as the implementation of the rest of the Solid Waste Management Plan, will increase the environmental, economic and public health of the residents of every community in New York City and will ensure that the city has the necessary infrastructure in place as our population continues to grow."
"The introduction of this bill is essential to minimize traffic, take dirty diesel trucks off the roads, and achieve a fair and environmentally sound solid waste management system that benefits all New Yorkers." said Ramon Cruz, Senior Policy Analyst for Environmental Defense. "We see this as an exciting opportunity to deal with two vital aspects of urban life: the need for recreation and the need for the very infrastructure that sustains us. We will work hard with government officials and community leaders to ensure that the Gansevoort Recycling and Educational Center is a state-of-the-art facility that becomes a model for urban waterfront parks in the City and the rest of the world."
Once the Gansevoort facility is operational, Department of Sanitation (DSNY) trucks will deliver Manhattan's recyclable metal, glass, and plastic there, saving truck trips to the Bronx and New Jersey. Those trucks would not clog bridges and tunnels and travel 30,000 fewer miles on roadways every year. The new facility would also receive Manhattan's recyclable paper that is currently shipped out of the Marine Transfer Station on 59th Street in Manhattan, freeing up that facility to receive Manhattan's commercial waste - currently being trucked to the Bronx and Brooklyn. Manhattan produces 40% of the City's commercial waste, which is approximately 3,000 tons per week. If the amendment does not pass and the Gansevoort facility is not built, none of those truck trips will be eliminated and the Solid Waste Management Plan's requirement that every borough participate in handling its own waste in a substantial way will not be realized.
The new Gansevoort MTS will be a model green building that will replace an existing transfer station that served Manhattan from the 1950s through the early 1990s. The facility will serve as a transfer point for Manhattan's recyclables and will host an environmental education center that will be a destination for users of Hudson River Park. The environmental center will house a classroom that could provide much-needed indoor space for community uses, as well as a viewing platform and educational panels that will describe the importance of recycling, alternative modes of transportation and the history and ecology of New York harbor.
Stu Loeser/Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Vito Turso (DSNY)