For Release Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pledge 2 Protect activists today delivered 15,674 letters to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation urging the agency to reconsider the construction and operating permits for the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station (MTS) due to significantly changed conditions since the original permits were issued in 2009.

“Changes in circumstances require the DEC to undertake a further review” said Assemblymember Rebecca A. Seawright (D-76). “The DEC must exercise its authority under Section 621.113(a)(4) “to modify, suspend or revoke a permit at any time . . . on the basis of . . . newly discovered material information or a material change in environmental conditions.”

“Pledge 2 Protect strongly believes the permits should not be reissued,” said Kelly Nimmo-Guenther, President of Pledge 2 Protect. “We are asking the DEC to follow its own regulations and review the facts that show the projected adverse impacts of the MTS have materially increased due to major changes in circumstances.”

Although the permits expired eight months ago on October 14, 2014, New York City has continued construction of the facility. The DEC has said that they will be announcing a 30-day public comment period tomorrow, June 24th on the permit renewal issue. The thousands of comment letters ask the DEC to heed the evidence and hold a public hearing on the permits because of changed conditions relating to air quality, flood risk and population density that have surfaced since the permits were originally issued.

Among these are:
• Flood risk has increased. The MTS was designed and permits were issued before Superstorm Sandy’s massive flooding of the area. The MTS pier level will now be 5.59 feet below FEMA elevation guidelines and New York City code requirements yet no structural redesign or independent assessment has been performed post-Sandy.
• New evidence has emerged on the toxicity of diesel fumes. The World Health Organization concluded in June 2012 that diesel engine exhaust (generated by garbage trucks) is carcinogenic to humans. This garbage station is in a highly populated residential area.
• Yorkville/East Harlem is among the most air-polluted areas in Manhattan. The results of the NYC Community Air Survey, published in 2013, reveal that despite citywide air quality improvements, pollution hot spots remain and the area around the East 91st Street MTS includes one of just four of these hot spots left in NYC.
• The community’s population has increased. 2010 census data shows the population of the neighborhood surrounding the MTS site has grown more rapidly than that of Manhattan overall.
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