Table of Contents:   
1) NYC Waterfront Revitalization Program: How it Can Be Improved to Protect Environmental Justice Communities - and retain Manufacturing
2) European Union reconsiders "Waste-to-Energy" incineration - is NYC moving backwards?
3) 2012 NRDC Earth Day NY Award
4) NYC-EJA In The News
5) NYC-EJA Fundraising Appeal
June 2012 - Volume 3, Issue 3
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EPA National TRI conference 2
NYC-EJA panel on Climate Change risks for NYC industrial waterfront communities of color - U.S.E.P.A.'s 2012 National Toxics Release Inventory Conference

NYC Waterfront Revitalization Program: How it can be Improved to Protect Environmental Justice Communities - and retain Manufacturing 


NYC-EJA member organizations endorse a balanced approach to waterfront policy in the NYC's Waterfront Revitalization Program (WRP), currently being publicly reviewed and amended.  Our balanced approach to bolster waterfront communities seeks to promote economic growth while protecting the environment and advancing equity. NYC-EJA's recommendations focus on policies that address industrial and maritime uses on the waterfront in general, and the six Significant Maritime and Industrial Areas (SMIAs) in particular. NYC-EJA's comments underscore the critical need to protect land zoned for manufacturing uses as well as existing and future local industrial employment. NYC-EJA advocates for policies that support local industrial jobs and businesses in the SMIAs, while minimizing adverse and disparate environmental impacts and contamination risks to workers and residents within the SMIA's and nearby communities. These recommendations envision innovative waterfront industrial regulations and zoning that set the standard for environmentally conscious development, while enhancing community resiliency.


 NYC-EJA supports many positive changes in the proposed WRP draft, which we have long championed. Significant improvements to WRP goals and criteria include the consideration of:

  • Risks associated with hazardous materials, toxic substances, and the open storage of bulk or aggregate materials;
  • Impacts on public health in the event of a coastal flood or storm;
  • Principles of ecologically sensitive industrial development;
  • Preservation of maritime uses;
  • Climate change impacts, and climate adaptation measures; and
  • Public access design standards and specific guidelines for public access in industrial and maritime areas
However, to fully realize these promises, several critical areas require further reform.


NYC-EJA urges the City to fully address the contamination exposure risks associated with clusters of heavy industrial uses in these vulnerable coastal locations. WRP reform should:


1. Require risk assessments for climate change impacts in project planning/design in coastal areas 

  • When evaluating the consistency of projects in the coastal zone (such as siting of industrial uses; new residential & commercial development; infrastructure projects; and Brownfield remediation) require that a qualified architect or engineer conduct a formal risk assessment to evaluate vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and sea level rise using current and best available science-based projections, and potential exposure to humans and the environment of chemicals / hazardous materials during extreme weather events; and
  • Unless proven infeasible, minimize threats identified in the risks assessment using best management practices, industrial pollution prevention, and sustainable development best practices.

 2. Mandate safe & responsible use of hazardous materials and toxic chemicals

  • Require an adequate plan for pollution prevention, good housekeeping and control of hazardous wastes, toxic pollutants, and substances hazardous to the environment for any facility, not just handling, but transferring and storing these substances -- that considers the impacts of projected climate change such as storm surge, flooding, high winds and flooding and sea level rise; and
  • Risk assessments must address the threats posed by the synergistic effects of chemical mixtures. The City should develop guidelines to assess these risks and help businesses incorporate these guidelines.

3. Protect local industrial jobs and businesses

  • Provide a clear definition for "underutilized / underused land" in the working waterfront; and
  • Discourage discretionary actions in the SMIAs that reduce land zoned for manufacturing and introduce non-industrial, non-water-dependent uses

4. Protect & restore wetlands

  • "Ecological Significant Maritime and Industrial Areas" (ESMIA) protections are limited to Staten Island -- WRP should protect other ecologically sensitive areas located inside or immediately adjacent to the South Bronx, Sunset Park and Newtown Creek SMIA's, where Special Natural Waterfront Areas (SNWAs) or Recognized Ecological Complexes (RECs) have been identified.

5. Require waterfront public access, unless proven infeasible and unsafe, in the SMIA's

For more about the recommendations, please see NYC-EJA Talking Points on WRP Reform
NYC-EJA members and allies protest "waste-to-energy" incinerator Request For Proposals bidders conference
European Union reconsiders "Waste-to-Energy" Incinerators - why is NYC moving backwards? 

Recently, the plenary of the European Parliament voted for an important resolution reaffirming the European Commission's initiative to bring residual waste close to zero and phase out - by 2020- incineration of compostable & recyclable material.


This resolution reflects the views of the European Commission and the European Parliament seeking to turn away from "waste-to-energy" incineration. This begs the question: why is the Bloomberg Administration - which often points to Europe's use of "thermal waste-to-energy" incineration as a rationale to pursue this ill-advised policy - still embracing technologies that Europe is now abandoning? Why is NYC moving backward in our intent to build a more environmentally sustainable city?  (To read the whole text go to: Report on a resource-efficient Europe)


Environmental and public health groups are united in our opposition to NYC official's ill-considered flirtation with thermal incineration technologies.  Under the euphemism of "waste-to-energy", industry lobbyists and their apologists have begun a full-court press to sell new, untested thermal technologies for "pilot" projects in the nation's densest urban center.


Several months ago, a coalition of over 50 environmental justice, environmental, community and public health groups sent a letter to Mayor Bloomberg urging his reconsideration of piloting risky "thermal waste-to-energy" (a.k.a. incineration) in New York City.  See attached link to read the letter. Coalition Letter to Mayor Bloomberg opposing Thermal WTE
NYC-EJA Executive Director recognized with 2012 Earth Day NY Excellence in Environmental Advocacy Award
Earth Day 2012 Award

NYC-EJA Executive Director Eddie Bautista received the 2012 Earth Day New York Excellence in Environmental Advocacy Award from NRDC and Earth Day NY.  "I'm deeply honored to be awarded this recognition by Earth Day NY and NRDC, particularly in light of some of the stellar past recipients," said Bautista.  "This acknowledgement only underscores the value and contributions made by NYC's environmental justice movement, and the continuing need to couple environmental protection with civil and human rights advocacy.  It is only through the recognition that all communities matter that we will ever truly achieve sustainability"

NYC-EJA In the News
"Waste-to-Energy" Incinerators:
New York Seeks Waste-to-Energy Proposals - NY Times on NYC's "RFP" for WTE incinerators
Energy Potential for NYC's Trash? - UPI article on RFP
Local Lawmakers Prepared To Trash Mayor's Waste-to-Energy Ideas - NY1 News on incinerator protests
Protestors Trash Bloomberg's Plan for Waste-to-Energy Plant - WNYC coverage
5-Alarm Brushfire at Staten Island's former Fresh Kills landfill prevents planned protest - Staten Island Advance coverage
Rechazan Nuevos Incineradores - El Diario-La Prensa coverage     

Trash-into-Energy Proposals Sparks Debate - Epoch Times
Staten Island Politics of Proposed Energy Plant - Staten Island Advance      

Solid Waste and Fair Share:
NY 1 News Debate on Inside City Hall on reopening the Upper East Side Marine Transfer Station
Mayoral Candidates Weigh in on East 91st Marine Transfer Station
Recycling Plummets Under "Green" Mayor's Watch 
North Brooklyn, South Bronx Residents Pushing for New Waste Transfer Stations to Lift Trash Burdens
Trash Talk: Local Activists Awaiting a Greener Greenpoint   
South Bronx Still Fuming Over City's Garbage Plan 
NY 1 News debate link, plus articles reporting on: Mayoral candidates's stance on the equitable need to reopen the Upper East Side marine transfer station to provide relief to overburdened communities in Brooklyn and the Bronx; Community forums supporting the equitable reopening of marine transfer stations, with NYC-EJA members quoted; and an analysis of NYC's recycling challenges 

Power Plants:
Local EJ Groups Take On New Power Plant Siting Regulations- NYC-EJA members mobilized for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation hearing on power plant siting regulations. 

Governor Cuomo Announces $3.45 million in Grants to Revitalize Communities Affected by Brownfields - NYC-EJA quoted in announcement releasing NYS brownfield planning grants 

Dear Friends:


We ask your help to sustain our campaigns for environmental justice.  Please support NYC-EJA by making a tax-deductible online donation at

Founded in 1991, NYC-EJA, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, is NYC's only federation of community-based organizations fighting for environmental justice in low income communities of color.  Since January, NYC-EJA has successfully led reform campaigns on climate change, solid waste, power plant siting and brownfield remediation policies.

But we need your help to continue our successes.  Your tax deductible online contribution can be made securely on the Donation page at our website (don't forget the hyphen!). Your donation will support NYC-EJA's ongoing campaigns, including new challenges posed by climate change.  You can also mail a check payable to: New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, 166A 22nd Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11232.


Become an EJ Friend - $50.00

Become an EJ Ally - $100.00

Become an EJ Champion - $200.00 (our 200x200 campaign!) 


For more information on NYC-EJA's work (or better yet, to support that work with a tax-deductible donation), please visit our website at  You'll be glad you did!


Hasta la proxima,

Eddie Bautista,

Executive Director