Please find below the press release issued today about Pledge 2 Protect’s rally at Asphalt Green protesting the destruction of 30-year-old pear trees lining the field and the ramp leading to the planned Marine Transfer Station.


Eight Arrested at Protest Against Pear Tree Massacre,
Including Kelly Nimmo-Guenther, President of Pledge 2 Protect and Carol Tweedy, Executive Director of Asphalt Green

 

  • Asphalt Green, Community Outraged at City’s Tree Removal
  • Actions Show City’s Lack of Intent to Hear and Act on Concerns AboutDanger of Ramp Location and Garbage Facility
 
New York, NY (May 23, 2014)—Today more than 100 protesters gathered at dawn at the ramp leading to the proposed East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station to protest the massacre of eight 30-year-old pear trees that line the northern perimeter of Asphalt Green’s sports field adjacent to the proposed garbage station ramp. Among those arrested were dedicated leaders, Kelly Nimmo-Guenther, President of Pledge 2 Protect (P2P) and a mother of two of Asphalt Green’s children; Carol Tweedy, Executive Director of Asphalt Green; and Regine LaCourt, a NYCHA resident and mother of three; as well as other local residents Dara Hunt, Gus Christensen, Carol Tichler, Joan Cavanaugh and Barbara Heyman.

“Cutting down these trees is not a victory for anyone: it is detrimental to the children using Asphalt Green and appears to show the City has no intention of taking the community’s concerns into consideration and talking about better solutions,” said Nimmo-Guenther. “If the City were earnest about our discussions it would not put children’s safety and health at risk and instead would press the pause button on a plan that won’t relieve the overburdened communities in other boroughs that the 2006 Solid Waste Management Plan was designed to help.”


Pledge 2 Protect is a not-for-profit coalition consisting of 28 organizations and more than 32,000 individuals asking for a review of the 2006 Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP).


The NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) tried to move construction equipment onto the site an hour-and-a-half before the planned protest. However, Isaacs and Holmes Public Housing residents, Pledge 2 Protect, Asphalt Green and STRONG Southwest Brooklyn supporters were lined up outside the gate at the foot of the ramp to the East 91
st Street garbage station construction site two hours early to block the entrance of the ramp. After warnings from the police, numerous Pledge 2 Protect, Isaacs and Holmes Public Housing residents and Asphalt Green supporters refused to move and eight were arrested.

“I have served this community for twenty years. It is ridiculous that the City would proceed with this tree demolition while it claims to be in discussions with us about potentially moving the ramp,” said Tweedy. “The sad fact here is that the truth is not being told: this garbage transfer station will hurt children from all boroughs of this city and destroy a neighborhood for no good reason. We need to work together in good faith to be constructive, not destructive.”


The coalition was joined by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Liz Krueger, Council Member Ben Kallos, as well as Assemblyman Robert J. Rodriguez of East Harlem. Despite the huge effort to once again give the City the opportunity to stop and listen harder, the ramp was opened to let workers and equipment through, and the human blockade was ordered to move by the NYPD.


Pledge 2 Protect is deeply concerned by the ongoing myths and factual misstatements related to the Marine Transfer Station (MTS) at East 91
st Street. The P2P coalition invites The New York City Environmental Justice Alliance and other supporters of the 2006 SWMP to sit down and have an open dialogue about the facts and take a serious look at alternative solutions to achieve the SWMP’s goals by focusing on reducing our overall tonnage instead of just redistributing the waste that this City continues to produce. That way, we can start to see real relief without creating new harm to new communities.

Some facts about this dangerous MTS location:
  • The ramp will be used by up to 500 garbage trucks a day, 6 days a week, to enter and exit the garbage station, leading to a high probability of pedestrian-vehicular accidents. 
  • The ramp is 11 feet from a toddler park and the front door of the Asphalt Green AquaCenter, and runs alongside the sports field.
  • 34,000 children a year from all over New York City use Asphalt Green and will be in danger of potentially fatal garbage truck accidents and concentrations of dangerous carcinogenic diesel fumes.
  • Asphalt Green provides critical services to 150 public schools in all five boroughs.
  • School buses line up parallel to where the garbage trucks will idle.
  • There are 11 day care centers and 16 schools within a half-mile of this site.
  • Vehicular accidents are the leading cause of accident related deaths in children under the age of 14 and the second leading cause for seniors.

 
About Pledge 2 Protect:  Pledge 2 Protect is a growing coalition of residents, organizations, businesses, educators and parents working together to protect the health and safety of tens of thousands of New Yorkers by stopping the construction of a dangerous and ill-conceived garbage station, the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station (MTS).  Major waste facilities do not belong in ANY residential neighborhood anywhere in the city. Download the facts here.



One voice can make a difference and when united, can make a change.