FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, SPEAKER QUINN, BOROUGH PRESIDENTS, STATE AND CITY ELECTED OFFICIALS CALL ON STATE ASSEMBLY TO ALLOW OPERATION OF A MARINE TRANSFER STATION ON GANSEVOORT PIER
Bill is Necessary for Implementing City's Historic Solid Waste Management Plan
Group Urges Passage of Bill When Assembly Members Return to Albany Next Week
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, State and City elected officials, environmentalists, environmental justice advocates and labor leaders today called on the State Assembly 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) adopted by the City Council in July 2006 and approved by the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in October 2006. Once operational, the Gansevoort MTS will handle recyclable metal, glass, plastic and paper 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 West 59th Street on the Hudson River to handle Manhattan's construction and demolition debris under a proposal to be negotiated. 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 was passed by the State Senate 53-8 on June 18, and must be passed by the State Assembly and signed into law.
At the announcement the Mayor was joined by members of the City Council including: Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn; Sanitation and Solid Waste Management Committee Chair Michael E. McMahon; Council Members Rosie Mendez, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Inez Dickens, Miguel Martinez, Larry B. Seabrook, James Vacca, Hiram Monserrate, Maria Del Carmen Arroyo, David Yassky, Robert Jackson, Leroy Comrie, Diana Reyna, Al Vann and Mathieu Eugene.
The Mayor was also joined by: Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz; Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro; Assembly Member Adriano Espaillat, the sponsor of the legislation in the Assembly; Assembly Members William Boyland, Jr., Ruben Diaz, Jr., Karim Camara, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., William Scarborough and Carl Heastie; Central Labor Council Executive Director Ed Ott; Director of Industry Advancement for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 14-14B Joseph Conway; Political Director of the New York City District Council of Carpenters Steve McInnis; Mason Tenders' District Council PAC Director Mike McGuire; and Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty.
Environmentalists and environmental justice advocates attending the event included Alison Cordero, Williamsburg / Greenpoint OUTRAGE (Organizations United for Trash Reduction and Garbage Equity); Marcia Bystryn, New York League of Conservation Voters; Gavin Kearney, Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods (OWN); Ramon Cruz, Environmental Defense; Elizabeth Yeampierre, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance and UPROSE (United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park); Adam Liebowitz, the Point; Miquela Craytor, Sustainable South Bronx; Eric A. Goldstein, Natural Resources Defense Council and Anna Vincenty, Nos Quedamos.
"Next week the State Legislature will reconvene in Albany, and we are asking the State Assembly to remove the last major obstacle to implementing our Solid Waste Management Plan," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The alternative locations proposed by opponents are unworkable and prohibitively expensive. Those red herring suggestions need to be put aside so this amendment to the Hudson River Park Act can be passed."
"It's been over a year since the Council adopted the Solid Waste Management Plan, and we're still waiting for the State Legislature to allow us to move forward with one of its key components," said Speaker Quinn. "This recycling transfer facility will allow my district to do our part for this equitable and environmentally responsible plan, reducing truck traffic by 30,000 miles each year while providing educational space to our community. As the State Legislature returns to session, I join the Mayor in urging them to pass this important amendment."
"The Gansevoort Recycling Facility is a critical piece of our 20-year Solid Waste Management Plan and without it many parts of the City will continue to suffer the burden of heavy truck traffic and environmental injustice," said Sanitation and Solid Waste Management Committee Chair Michael E. McMahon.
Once the Gansevoort facility is operational, Department of Sanitation (DSNY) trucks will deliver Manhattan's recyclable metal, glass, and plastic there, resulting 30,000 fewer miles traveled 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 West 59th Street in Manhattan, freeing up that facility to receive Manhattan's construction and demolition debris - currently being trucked to the Bronx and Brooklyn. If the amendment does not pass and the Gansevoort facility is not built, 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.
"I am in strong support of passing the Gansevoort legislation that will reopen the transfer station on Manhattan's Gansevoort Peninsula," said Congressman Charles Rangel. "This legislation is good for the City of New York since it will reduce the transportation of debris and pollution from trucks. Our community will benefit from better air quality which will reduce cases of asthma. Overall, this legislation will make the city as a whole a more livable place."
"It is unacceptable that a few low-income, working class communities of color in Brooklyn, Queens, East Harlem, and the Bronx are disproportionately burdened with our City's trash and recyclables," said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez. "By operating a marine transfer station at Gansevoort pier we will reduce diesel traffic, improve air quality, and ensure that waste management is distributed more fairly."
"I am pleased to see the Mayor hold steadfast to principles of borough equity and fairness as he continues to roll out the new Solid Waste Management Plan," said Congressman José E. Serrano. "The reopening of Gansevoort will trigger a windfall of environmental benefits for all New Yorkers and especially for my South Bronx constituents. It is time Albany allowed the plan to move forward."
"I support the plan to locate a sanitation recycling station on the Gansevoort Pier in Manhattan," said Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion. "For too long, some boroughs have been burdened more than others with an imbalance in the distribution, recycling and disposal of the City's waste. A recycling transfer station in Manhattan will address the need to equitably distribute solid waste responsibility to all boroughs."
"New York City's Solid Waste Management Plan, an inspired partnership between the environmental justice community and the visionary Bloomberg administration and other public officials - must now be fast-tracked in Albany so our neighborhoods and families finally get the respect they deserve," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "For Brooklyn, which for years has shouldered more than our fair share of the City's garbage transfer infrastructure, there is not a moment to waste!"
"I fully support the Solid Waste Management Plan and will work with Mayor Bloomberg and the coalition to transform it into reality," said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. "As a member of the Environmental Committee in the City Council, I was a steadfast supporter of marine transfer stations and voted accordingly. Today, I still believe marine transfer is the way to go. Queens will do its part to address the problem of solid waste removal with my continuing support for the College Point marine transfer station."
"I encourage the Legislature to approve the construction of the Gansevoort Marine Transfer Station," said Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro. "This station will eliminate thousands of truck trips each year. As a result, a significant source of air pollution will be removed from our City."
"It is about time that every borough handled its own waste," said Assembly Member Adriano Espaillat, the sponsor of the legislation. "The Gansevoort Marine Transfer Station is the last crucial step in completing the equitable goal of the Solid Waste Management Plan and I implore the Assembly to take up this issue as soon as possible."
"It's about time all New Yorkers take on their fair share of the City's solid waste," said Assembly Member Ruben Diaz, Jr. "As a Bronxite, I think the 1.4 million residents of the Bronx have been doing that and more. I encourage my colleagues in the legislature to vote to change that next week."
"A key component to handling New York City's solid waste is attending to the thousands of tons of recyclables that are separated from the regular trash each day," said Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty. "The Gansevoort MTS would provide the borough of Manhattan with an environmentally attractive depot and educational center from which to barge valuable metal, plastic, glass and paper products to processing plants for recycling."
"We join Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn and our environmental colleagues in urging the Assembly to allow the city to advance the Gansevoort recycling facility," said Eric A. Goldstein, Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "The use of a small portion of the Gansevoort peninsula for a state-of-the-art recycling station is not inconsistent with the use of the vast bulk of that peninsula for new parkland. And moving ahead with the Gansevoort recycling station is necessary to insure that responsibility for the handling the city's 12,500 tons a day of municipal trash is fairly shared by all five boroughs."
"The development of a state-of-the-art recycling facility on the Gansevoort Pier is the final piece of a plan that will protect the environment, support economic development and improve public health throughout New York City," said New York League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Marcia Bystryn. "We join many community and environmental organizations today in calling on the Assembly to allow this facility to be built, and to relieve a burden that has unfairly affected working-class neighborhoods and communities of color for too long."
"The Gansevoort Recycling and Educational Center is key to achieve the goals of cleaner air and environmental justice," said Ramon Cruz, Senior Policy Analyst at Environmental Defense. "The planned state-of-the art facility would take dirty diesel trucks out of the neighborhoods that are overburdened from our current solid waste system. The City has put forward an environmentally responsible design that can coexist with our parks and become a model for urban waterfronts around the world."
"The SWMP represents a necessary and historic step towards making environmental justice a reality in the City of New York," said Elizabeth Yeampierre, Board Chair of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. "It is the least we can do for the children in New York City's most environmentally over-burdened communities."
"The New York City labor movement is strongly in favor of the reactivation of the Gansevoort Marine Transfer Station project because we want to be able to stand behind what we build while providing green jobs," said Ed Ott, Executive Director of the New York City Central Labor Council. "I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn for allowing me the opportunity to speak here in support of the Gansevoort Martine Transfer Station project and the new opportunities in jobs and economic development it will bring to the great borough of Manhattan."
"Fair is fair," said Steve McInnis, Political Director of the New York City District Council of Carpenters. "We realize the importance of protecting every community as our union has members living in every borough in the City. With the Solid Waste Management Plan, the Mayor and the City Council have done the right thing."
"We commend the Mayor and the Speaker on the siting of this transfer station," said Mason Tenders' District Council PAC Director Mike McGuire. "For too long, the burden of such facilities has been disproportionately put upon our poorer communities and communities of color. We look forward to working with our leaders in city government to build this state-of-the-art facility right here on Gansevoort Street."
The Solid Waste Management Plan establishes a cost-effective, reliable and environmentally sound system for managing the City's waste for the next 20 years. Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler is overseeing the implementation of the SWMP through a working group that includes DSNY, the Economic Development Corporation, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the Office of Management and Budget, the Law Department and the Parks Department . In August, the Mayor announced that all Bronx residential and municipal waste - approximately 2,100 tons per day - is being exported for final disposal by rail, rather than by truck. In May, Staten Island became the first borough to have household waste exported by rail rather than truck after Mayor Bloomberg reactivated the Staten Island Railroad. Staten Island exports 950 tons per day of household waste using the new rail link.
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