NYC Waterfront Plan Reform Update
September, 2010 - Vol 1, Issue 4
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In This Issue - NYC Waterfront Plan Update; Fair Share Reform; Support NYC-EJA Fundraising Campaign

The City of New York is currently updating its Waterfront Revitalization Plan (WRP) through two related planning processes: Vision 2020 and WAVES. The NYC Waterfront Revitalization Plan (WRP) adopted in 2002 encourages the concentration and clustering of industrial & maritime development in 6 areas called Significant Maritime and Industrial Areas (SMIAs). SMIA designations are found in the largely low-income communities of color of: Sunset Park, Red Hook, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Newtown Creek, the South Bronx and Staten Island's North Shore. Development applications in SMIA's are treated differently and to a lesser review standard than other waterfront areas, thereby easing the siting and clustering of polluting infrastructure. All SMIA's are also in storm surge zones. (SMIA and storm surge maps are on our website

Our great concern is that, given the concentration of industrial materials and uses in SMIA's, any significant storm surge may lead to human exposure to hazardous materials and contamination of waters with dangerous chemicals, heavy metals or other hazardous substances - toxic waters that could migrate to other parts of the waterfront as well as upland acreage. As floodwaters recede brownfields will emerge in their wake.

NYC-EJA's recommendations for SMIA reform in our neighborhoods include:

1. Require adequate buffers for residential and existing development uses

2. Require public access (as the WRP mandates for other sections of the waterfront), unless proven unfeasible. Permeable surfaces should be used.

3. Require all port and industrial facilities and infrastructure to develop plans and be equipped to handle natural disasters such as hurricanes and storm surges.

4. Incorporate industrial best practices and reduce/limit hazardous material use. Prohibit open storage of chemicals in SMIA's.

5. Use FEMA funds to help "green" port and upland industrial facilities/processes.

6. Discourage siting of non-water-dependent uses that use, store or transport hazardous materials or produce excessive dust, odor and/or noise from locating in SMIA's. To make this possible, preserve adequate manufacturing space in other manufacturing areas such as IBZ's and other M-zoned land, thus providing space for non-water-dependent industrial uses.

7. Lobby to make disaster preparation an incentive for lowering insurance costs.

8. Identify/map potential sources of hazardous materials and evaluate their vulnerability during storm events in SMIA's (i.e.: Risk Assessment as a community mapping).

9. Support/coordinate with local community resiliency plans.

10. Require Fair Share analyslis prior to siting/permitting private as well as public facilities that use, store or transport hazardous materials or produce excessive dust or noise.

Given last week's severe storm event (NYC's 2nd tornado in three years), and the recently passed 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, more and more waterfront cities are grappling with the issues of climate change, storm surges and toxic water exposure. These issues loom large for NYC's EJ communities, many of whom are waterfront communities. President Obama's call for a national infrastructure commitment presents an opportunity NYC should avail itself of.

If you have any questions, please contact NYC-EJA Executive Director Eddie Bautista at [email protected]

Fighting for cleaner and just communities - one block at a time,
The NYC Environmental Justice Alliance
Fair Share Reform

The Charter Revision Commission voted unanimously to propose adding Fair Share language to the Charter mandating that the Atlas of City-owned Property (i.e. - the map of all City properties published with the Annual Statement of Needs) include all State, Federal and private facilities that handle solid waste and transportation in each Community Board. Right now, the Atlas only includes City-owned property, which means that City agencies and the public only have a partial sense of our community's environmental burdens. NYC-EJA lobbied the Charter Revision Commission for months, and testified at nearly every hearing.

When New Yorkers vote at the polls in November, we can vote for a more environmentally just City Charter. Please vote Yes on:
"City Question 2. Elections and Government Administration: Map for Facility Siting - Include in the City's facilities siting map those transportation and waste management facilities operated by or for governmental entities, or by private entities that provide comparable services."
NYC-EJA Fundraising Campaign
As NYC-EJA approaches its 20th anniversary, we ask your help to sustain our campaigns for environmental justice. Please help NYC-EJA reach its fundraising goal of $5000 by October 30th.

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. From equitable energy policies to solid waste to brownfield redevelopment, NYC-EJA and its members have enjoyed an unparalleled string of victories that have begun reversing decades of environmental burdens and inequities for our most vulnerable communities. (Please visit to learn more about our current campaigns and past accomplishments.)

But we need your help to continue our successes. Your tax deductible online contribution at 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!)

Hasta la proxima,
Eddie Bautista
Executive Director