Solid Waste Update; Power Plant Regulations; Pratt Public Lecture Series: Environmental Justice in N.Y. & New Policy Analyst
January 2012 - Volume 3, Issue 1
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East 91st Marine Transfer Station

Statement by NYC-EJA Executive Director Eddie Bautista on E. 91st MTS & State of City:

 

The NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) applauds the Bloomberg Administration's issuance of requests for bids last week to build the E. 91st Marine Transfer Station.  Despite years of delays triggered by litigation losses, cynical legislation and other dilatory tactics by well-heeled Upper East Side NIMBY forces, the Administration and City Council have courageously continued their pursuit of a more environmentally just and fair waste management system.  Overhauling our export infrastructure from a polluting, truck-based system ravaging a handful of communities of color, to a more equitably sited barge-and-rail-based system of waste export will decrease vehicle-miles traveled (VMTs) within City limits by a stunning 5.6 million miles annually.

 

This Five Borough solution to a Five Borough problem - where Manhattan generates 40% of NYC's solid waste, yet hosts no waste transfer stations - has eluded New Yorkers for decades, but progress continues.  In addition to E. 91st Street, we anxiously await support from the Cuomo Administration to complete the last items to implement the system - i.e., the issuance of a DEC permit for the Southwest Brooklyn Marine Transfer Station, as well as NYS financial commitments to fund the Gansevoort Pier, which includes new parkland to accompany a state-of-the-art recycling marine transfer station.  We are confident Governor Cuomo's Administration will support environmental justice communities in our bid for a more fair and sustainable waste management system.

 

We also applaud the Mayor's commitment made in his State of the City to double the City's waste diversion rate. However, NYC-EJA and our allies remain deeply concerned about the specter of thermal "waste-to-energy" (a.k.a. incineration) pilot projects the Bloomberg Administration intends to explore in the coming months - apparently as part of the expanded diversion rate commitment.  We urge the Administration to craft an RFP that excludes thermal incineration technologies such as gasification, plasma arc incineration and pyrolysis.  There are no commercial scale facilities of these types in the United States - and it is unnecessary and risky to pilot and "explore" such technologies in the nation's densest urban center.


NYC Power Plant 
 Public Comments re: Power Plant sitings in Environmental Justice Communities
 

Public comments have opened for one of the most important regulations affecting environmental justice communities in years.

 

Last summer Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature approved the New York Power Act, which re-authorized Article X, the state's power plant siting law.  The renewal of Article X opens the door to potential new power plant sitings throughout New York.  NYC-EJA and our allies successfully advocated to Governor Cuomo's office and the NYS Legislature to protect the communities most vulnerable to pollution impacts from new power plant sitings - environmentally overburdened low income and communities of color.

 

Before Siting Boards can begin accepting and reviewing power plant applications, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation - DEC - must adopt regulations to guide power plant applicants on methodologies to assess whether a community being proposed for a power plant is an environmental justice area (i.e. - an environmentally overburdened low income or community of color).  Upon completion of such analysis, if an area is determined to be an environmental justice community, power plant applicants must commit to local and verifiable pollution offset programs before a power plant can be sited - thereby ensuring that new power plants proposed for environmental justice communities will not add any more pollution to already overburdened neighborhoods.

 

The DEC has just issued draft regulations called Part 487, with comments being accepted by March 15th - and a NYC public hearing on those regulations scheduled for Tuesday, March 6th at 3 pm, at the NYS Department of Public Service at 90 Church Street, 4th Floor.  We urge environmental justice community leaders to visit the NYS DEC website to learn more about the regs and process.

 

NYC-EJA and our counsel NY Lawyers for the Public Interest have begun analyzing the regs, and have shared concerns with the DEC regarding the 51% threshold trigger as insufficiently reflective or protective of environmental justice communities, as is the narrow half-mile radius Impact Study Area.  We look forward to continued dialogue with the agency, as we all seek to protect our State's most environmentally vulnerable residents from increased pollution.
NYC-EJA & Pratt Institute host Public Lecture Series: Environmental Justice in NY
Fair Share photo

NYC-EJA and Pratt Institute's Graduate Programs for Sustainable Planning & Development are co-hosts of the 2012 Public Lecture Series on Environmental Justice in New York. The Public Lecture Series is free and open to the public, and will begin this Friday, February 3rd at Pratt Manhattan Campus, 144 West 14th Street (between 7th and 6th Avenues), Room 213 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. The Lecture Series will focus on some of the key policy priorities and players involved in City environmental justice issues. Space is limited - please RSVP at prattpspd@gmail.com. The lectures in February are:

 

Fri. Feb. 3rd: An Evening with NYC-EJA members - a panel with representatives from UPROSE, Youth Ministries for Peace & Justice, Morningside Heights-West Harlem Sanitation Coalition, The Point CDC, Nos Quedamos and El Puente.

 

Fri. Feb. 10th: NYC Solid Waste Management Plan - a panel with Gavin Kearney of NY Lawyers for the Public Interest, Eric Goldstein of Natural Resources Defense Council and Brian Mahanna of the Mayor's Office.

 

Fri. Feb 24th: Incineration (Thermal "Waste-to-Energy") - a panel with Laura Haight of NYPIRG, Nicky Sheets of the NJ Environmental Justice Alliance and David Bragdon of the Mayor's Office of Long-term Planning & Sustainability.
 
Remember, space is limited, so please RSVP.  Hope to see you there! 
NYC-EJA In The News:

UES Trash Barge (finally) comes in - Crains New York Business

Hope, Hesitation as Waste-to-Energy Gets New Look - City Limits 

Green Future? Environmental advocates look to a NYC without Bloomberg - City and State 

Meet NYC-EJA's new Policy Analyst: Juan Camilo Osorio
Juan Camilo Osorio 

NYC-EJA is proud to welcome our new Policy Analyst, Juan Camilo Osorio. Juan Camilo brings a broad range of experience to the Alliance.  He is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Pratt Institute's Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development (PSPD), introducing graduate students to qualitative and quantitative urban planning research.  Before joining NYC-EJA, he was a Senior Planner and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst at The Municipal Art Society Planning Center, where he used spatial information to support research and advocacy on community-based planning, urban design and historic preservation.  Before moving to New York, he worked with the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center, a non-profit agency based in Holyoke, Massachusetts, using GIS to study systematic and procedural impediments to fair housing in the central and western regions of that State.  He received a master's degree in regional planning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a professional degree in architecture from the National University of Colombia, Bogot´┐Ż.  Bienvenido a la lucha, Juan Camilo!