From Stuyvesant Cove to Central Park, our district is home to beautiful green spaces that are daily reminders of the importance of a clean environment on human life and health. Our Mayor has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. But given the President’s disastrous decision to withdraw from the landmark Paris climate agreement, we need to take aggressive action at the local level.
As your Council Member, I will fight to preserve and improve our environment, focusing on instituting local policies to address greenhouse gases and climate change; noise pollution; air quality; waste management and mass transit.
Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change:
Buildings are the number one emitter of greenhouse gases in our city. New buildings need to have an even greater focus on energy efficiency, and we need to promote incorporating renewable energy production into new construction. Existing buildings need to be modernized to reduce their carbon footprint because poor insulation wastes energy and residents’ money. We need to identify and eliminate the obstacles to retrofitting. In addition to stricter standards for new and existing buildings, we must also eliminate major sources of air pollution, such as the oil-burning power plants bordering our district.
As much as we can do locally, climate change is happening, and I am committed to advancing measures that will protect our community. The East Side Coastal Resiliency Project will safeguard our neighborhood from future storms and rising sea levels by creating a barrier of “green infrastructure,” such as trees and swale, along our waterfront from 23rd Street southwards. I will work to ensure the project’s design effectively protects our neighborhood from flooding, while also preserving residents’ access to our waterfront.
The East Side construction boom means much higher noise levels, which harms the livability of our neighborhoods. I will demand that the Department of Buildings reduce noise from construction by mandating noise mufflers and requiring developers to notify residents in advance of construction activity. I will also advocate for continued community oversight and involvement in all major construction projects in our neighborhood.
Many of us were dismayed by the decisions to proceed with the 25th Street Sanitation Garage and 91st Street Marine Transfer Station. I have serious concerns about the siting of the 25th Street Sanitation Garage. Other sites need to be thoroughly investigated and community concerns must be addressed.
In addition, New York City spends more than $2 billion dollars to dispose of more than 14 million tons of waste per year. I will press the Department of Sanitation to institute single-stream recycling collection to reduce this costly waste. I will also work to bring hassle-free composting to our district by expanding the NYC Organics program to every resident and business on the East Side.
With a population swelling beyond 8.5 million residents, our city is more congested than ever. Traffic continues to worsen, while our subway system suffers from a lack of investment that causes chronic delays and unreliable service. This state of affairs jeopardizes our health and our city’s economy as tolls and fares skyrockets, and must be addressed immediately. The MoveNY plan is a community-organized effort that would be an important step forward, equalizing tolls into Manhattan and instituting dynamic pricing for car trips below 60th street to reduce traffic, noise and air pollution while generating money for mass transit.
New Yorkers are living through the consequences of a changing environment from unpredictable temperatures to the devastation of storms and hurricanes. As your Council Member, I look forward to pressing forward with policies that will protect the health and vibrancy of our community while promoting a green vision for keeping our city livable.