Brooklyn S.T.R.O.N.G and P2P Rally – June 1, 2014

My name is Kelly Nimmo-Guenther, President of Pledge 2 Protect, a coalition of 30 organizations and over 31,000 concerned New Yorkers.  I want to thank Assemblyman Colton and Council Members Treyger and Gentile for bringing us all together today. And I must thank all of you for coming out to make our voices louder and clearer throughout the City.

This new partnership between Pledge 2 Protect and Brooklyn S.T.R.O.N.G. represents an important milestone for all of us.

Pledge 2 Protect is proud to unite with S.T.R.O.N.G. in our joint fight against two planned marine transfer stations in communities where these kinds of industrial facilities simply should not be located.

As New Yorkers and neighbors, we share the same health, environmental and safety concerns related to building these garbage stations in residential and environmentally vulnerable areas. Assemblyman Colton, Council Member Kallos, a number of Pledge 2 Protect volunteers and I took Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia on a tour of five MTS sites including Gravesend Bay and East 91st Street recently — and I’ve toured many more and guess what:

–       there isn’t a single other site with a ramp where up to 500 trucks a day 24 hours a day, 6 days a week cuts through a sports and recreation facility which serves 30,000 public school children for free

–       there isn’t a single other site that is on top of children,

–       there isn’t a single other site that violates the City’s own regulation of locating a facility within 400 feet from parks, playgrounds and public housing

–       there isn’t another site on top of WWII bombs.

–       there isn’t another site as vulnerable to future Super Storm Sandys.

There isn’t a single other City that ignores such blatant facts and insists on moving forward with putting people at risk.

There isn’t a single other City that supports pitting neighbor against neighbor or borough against borough.  Well, we are ALL here to say: We Stand United.  We stand here today to say that we are STRONG and only getting stronger.  We will not let politics drown out our voices and the facts.

The facts are plenty as seen in our recent Pledge 2 Protect report: Talking Trash. Contrary to its goals, the 2006 Bloomberg Solid Waste Management plan will have negative impact city-wide, and the East 91st Street and South West Brooklyn MTSes will NOT divert enough waste to provide relief or improve conditions overburdened communities currently face:

  • 80% of NYC waste removal is unchanged by the 2006 SWMP.
  • East 91st Street will divert less than 2% of commercial waste from other boroughs to Manhattan.
  • Southwest Brooklyn will divert less than 3%.

…Such miniscule impact at astronomical costs to NYC taxpayers. Capital costs to build the East 91st Street MTS have ballooned from $45 million to over $245 million… 4X the original estimate and still growing.

SW Brooklyn is projected to quadruple in costs as well.

It will NOT cost taxpayers $78/ton to process the garbage, it will cost $238/ton to process the SAME garbage.

And all of this for what? A truck-, rail-, and barge-driven system that is outdated, more costly, that moves trash around instead of reducing our overall tonnage, and that doesn’t move us toward a more sustainable modern system. A system that creates far more harm than it reduces. Is this the legacy the de Blasio administration wants?

Together we now have the voices of people from Yorkville, East Harlem, Bensonhurst, Coney Island and more neighborhoods across Manhattan and Brooklyn together calling on Mayor de Blasio to PUSH THE PAUSE BUTTON on these two garbage stations.  To PUSH THE PAUSE BUTTON on the outdated Bloomberg SWMP and to conduct an audit of its ballooning costs, its negative health, safety and environmental impacts, and the actual lack of relief it provides to overburdened communities.  The 2006 SWMP does NOT meet the goals it set out to address.

New York City must make it a priority to reduce overall tonnage.  We must find better ways to manage our garbage.  We must improve our recycling rates, we must clean up the dirty garbage trucks driving around our streets.  We must get real tangible relief, not just lip service to overburdened communities.

The City must NOT move forward with the new marine transfer stations at East 91st Street and Gravesend Bay.

It is time for our new progressive leaders to meet their agendas, reduce waste tonnage and create a system for solid waste that will be resilient, sustainable and take NYC into the future.  Our City leaders must act now.  We must unite our voices and ask our City leaders to act before billions of dollars are wasted.

Take the PLEDGE TO PROTECT our communities and all New Yorkers from the harmful impact of the 2006 Solid Waste Management Plan.

Remember:

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

Thank you.