Today, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Member Micah Kellner, Council Member Jessica Lappin, and members of the East Side community gathered near the East River waterfront to speak out against plans to build a garbage transfer station on the East River at 91st Street.
The Army Corps of Engineers is currently considering a permit request and mitigation plan by the City Department of Sanitation to build the proposed garbage station. The public comment period for this application ends on Wednesday, August 24th -- and the lawmakers urged the public to state their opposition to the plan now, before it's too late. Yesterday, Maloney submitted her comments on the permit request to the Army Corps; a full copy of Maloney's comments follows. The East Side elected officials also wrote to the Army Corps today urging the agency to extend the comment period through the end of September to allow the entire community to express their views on this important matter.
Members of the public must send comments to the Army Corps by fax at (212) 264-4260, or by mail to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
New York District
26 Federal Plaza, Room 1937
New York, New York 10278-0090
Attn: Naomi Handell
The proposed facility, which will have a large footprint on the East River, would process as much as 4,290 tons of garbage per day, causing an endless line of garbage trucks to rumble through a densely-populated residential area to converge on the proposed site. The East River ecosystem has been re-emerging as water quality has improved in recent years and this facility will have a significant impact on the marine life in the East River, as detailed in Maloney's comments to the Army Corps. The proposed site is adjacent to two large public housing developments, many residential towers, several parks, and Asphalt Green, a sports complex that serves thousands of New York City kids. The proposed site is also in a hurricane flood zone.
"For the health of this neighborhood, for the health our children, and for the health of the East River -- plans for this garbage dump need to sleep with the fishes," Maloney said. "A Marine Transfer Station does not belong in a residential neighborhood. It does not belong near three parks, two schools, and two public housing developments. And it does not belong in a hurricane flood zone."
"In addition, I have reviewed the Sanitation Department's Mitigation Plan and it is clearly inadequate. It woefully underestimates and overlooks much of the fish population at the site and its proposals for mitigation are insufficient. This site is simply inappropriate for a marine transfer station and the Army Corps should reject the Sanitation Department's permit application entirely," Maloney added.
"My long-standing opposition to a Marine Transfer Station at East 91st Street is based on many factors. Individually, some of the problems with this location provide enough reason to shut this plan down, but collectively they make this decision a no-brainer. Putting a Marine Transfer Station on East 91st Street would not only do considerable damage to the health and safety of those living and playing on the land around it, but it would also do irreparable harm to the East River's already delicate ecosystem. I urge every community member to voice his or her opinion so the Army Corps of Engineers has no doubt as to where the community stands on this matter," said Senator Krueger.
"Neither our families nor our wildlife should be subjected to garbage trucks and barges spewing noxious fumes and leaking trash," said Assembly Member Kellner. "The proposed Marine Transfer Station is located in a residential neighborhood, and comes at a time when the East River's ecosystem is improving by leaps and bounds every day. The Army Corps needs to extend the comment period and hold public forums until every voice can be heard."
"This is a democracy, and we have a right to speak up and speak out. We want a hearing to explain how this garbage dump will destroy our community and to plead with the Army Corps to protect our environment," said Council Member Lappin.
"Any way you look at it, the case against this garbage station is compelling," said Council Member Garodnick. "Its location in a flood zone, the outdated environmental information provided by the City, and the damage this facility could cause to the marine habitat -- not to mention its impact in the heart of a residential community -- are all reasons the City should have to go back to the drawing board."