NEW YORK, NY (Sunday, June 2, 2014)—Two grassroots coalitions, Pledge 2 Protect and S.T.R.O.N.G. Southern Brooklyn announced a partnership in which they are asking the de Blasio administration to listen to and seriously look at alternative solutions to meet the goals of the 2006 Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) without building the harmful East 91st Street and Gravesend Bay, Southwest Brooklyn Marine Transfer Stations (MTS). The groups made the announcement at a rally in Bensonhurst attended by a hundreds residents, elected officials and advocates.
Pledge 2 Protect and S.T.R.O.N.G. Southern Brooklyn share many of the same health, environmental and safety concerns related to building these garbage stations in residential and environmentally vulnerable areas. S.T.R.O.N.G. has been fighting against the City’s decision to rebuild a garbage station at Gravesend Bay since Super-storm Sandy; and many of the coalition’s supporters have spent nearly a decade opposing it. Pledge 2 Protect, its coalition members and others have been fighting the East 91st Street MTS for about as long, as the facility will be located in one of the most densely populated NYC communities, directly next to a sports and fitness facility, within several hundred feet of public housing and a park, and within a quarter-mile of 16 schools.
Assemblyman Bill Colton has been fighting against the proposed Gravesend Bay Garbage Station since 2005, and in 2012 he filed a lawsuit to block the city’s plan to construct and operate a waste transfer station at this location, near Shore Parkway and Bay 41st Street in Bensonhurst. This location is the site of the former Southwest Brooklyn incinerator. Currently, the legal battle is continuing in court. Colton also led a successful lawsuit in the late 1980s and early 1990s to shut down the Southwest Brooklyn incinerator.
“This dangerous garbage dump will cause serious harm to the public health, environment and safety of the people of our neighborhoods in southwest Brooklyn. And as toxic matter will be dredged up while building this garbage station, untold negative impacts to waterfront communities far beyond the boundaries of New York City will be felt,” Assemblyman Colton said. “The Solid Waste Management Plan is self-defeating. The hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on this plan could be used to increase the amount of recycling in the city, which is a sounder and more efficient long-term solution – it is the real answer.”
The emphasis of the 10-year old SWMP is the construction of outdated, costly, dangerous new garbage transfer stations as part of a truck-barge and rail-based system to move waste. The coalitions believe the laudable goals of the Bloomberg-era SWMP and de Blasio’s Zero Waste strategy can be better advanced by finding real solutions, which provide tangible relief to areas already overburdened by trash facilities. Pledge 2 Protect commissioned a report published in February, Talking Trash, which outlined where the vast sums of taxpayer money being spent on these MTSes could and should be redirected.
“We call on Mayor de Blasio to hit the pause button on the outdated Bloomberg SWMP and 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–we know there’s a better solution”, said Kelly Nimmo-Guenther, president of Pledge 2 Protect. “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.”
The garbage facilities at East 91st Street in Manhattan and Gravesend Bay in Southwest Brooklyn will bring devastatingly negative health and safety impacts to these areas without providing relief to other communities currently overburdened with solid waste. To learn more click here for a fact sheet about the East 91st Street MTS site and click here for a fact sheet about the Gravesend Bay site.
In addition to Assemblyman Bill Colton and Kelly Nimmo-Guenther the following elected officials and community leaders supported this growing coalition by speaking at the rally:
Congressman Michael Grimm (11th Congressional District – Staten Island, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Gravesend, Bensonhurst, & Sheepshead Bay)
Kings County Democratic Party County Chair & District Leader Frank Seddio (59th Assembly District – Marine Park, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, Georgetown, Flatlands, & Canarsie)
State Senator Diane Savino (23rd State Senate District – North Shore, Staten Island & Bay Ridge, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, & Gravesend, Brooklyn)
Assembly Member Karim Camara (43rd Assembly District – Crown Heights & Prospect Lefferts Gardens)
Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz (45th Assembly District – Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Homecrest, & Midwood)
Council Member Vincent Gentile (43rd Council District – Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights, Bay Ridge & Fort Hamilton)
Council Member Ben Kallos (5th Council District – Upper East Side’s Yorkville, Lenox Hill, and Carnegie Hill; Roosevelt Island: Midtown East’s Sutton Place; & El Barrio)
Council Member Mark Treyger (47th Council District – Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Coney Island, & Seagate)
Priscilla Consolo, Vice-Chair of S.T.R.O.N.G. – Southern Brooklyn
Jamie Kemmerer, Executive Director of Bay Ridge Democrats
Shirley Aikens, President of Carey Gardens Tenants Association (Coney Island)
Wanda Feliciano, President of Unity Towers Tenants Association (Coney Island)
Steve Chung, President of United Chinese Association of Brooklyn (Bensonhurst)
Warren Chan, Executive Director of Asian Community United Society (Bensonhurst)
Roxanne Persaud, President of 69th Police Precinct Community Council (Canarsie)
Jin Chiu, President of United Progressive Young Democrats (Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Dyker Heights, & Bath Beach)
Edwin Cosme, President of Coney Island Board of Trade
Dr. Tim Law, Member of Community Education Council District 21(Coney Island, Bensonhurst, & Gravesend)
S.T.R.O.N.G. (Sandy Task-Force Recovery Organized by Neighborhood Groups was founded in January 2013 by Councilman Mark Treyger in response to the devastation felt by so many families in southern Brooklyn after Hurricane Sandy. Last year, S.T.R.O.N.G. formed a coalition, titled “DUMP THE DUMP,” with community leaders, elected officials, and neighborhood organizations from across southern Brooklyn to stop this dangerous garbage station. These elected officials, organizations, and leaders are from neighborhoods including: Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Mill Basin, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, Bergen Beach, and Bay Ridge.
About Pledge 2 Protect
Pledge 2 Protect, Inc. is a growing coalition of diverse citizens of the City who are working together to protect the health and safety of New Yorkers by raising awareness of the fiscal, environmental and community impacts of the City’s current solid waste management system and plan. Many communities have borne disproportionate loads in handling New York City’s waste, and the goal should be to reduce those impacts across the board, not attempt to shift them. New Yorkers deserve a plan driven by modern solid waste solutions that are more sustainable and cost-effective for the long run. www.pledge2protectnyc.org
For Pledge 2 Protect: For S.T.R.O.N.G Southern Brooklyn:
Michelle Manoff, 212-843-8051 Priscilla Consolo, 347-403-3930
Eve McGrath, 646-258-0026, firstname.lastname@example.org
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