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Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Representing the 7th District of New York


Velazquez Calls for Reopening of Gansevoort Pier Marine Transfer Station

Velázquez Calls for Reopening of Gansevoort Pier Marine Transfer Station
June 28, 2007
Press Release

NEW YORK – Today Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez, joined with Mayor Bloomberg and other elected officials, in calling on the state legislature to reopen the Gansevoort Pier Marine Transfer Station in an effort to manage the distribution of New York City’s residential and recyclable waste, which has fallen disproportionately in Brooklyn.   She sent the following letter to Assemblyman Sheldon Silver last week expressing her support for the reopening of this transfer station:

June 28, 2007

The Honorable Sheldon Silver
New York State Assembly
LOB 932
Albany, NY 12248

Dear Speaker Silver:

As the Representative of New York’s 12th Congressional District, I am writing to express my full support for the reopening of the Gansevoort Pier Marine Transfer Station (MTS) in lower Manhattan.   As an advocate of environmental justice, I strongly support equality and fairness in managing the distribution of New York City’s residential and recyclable waste.  The reuse of MTSs will serve an important public purpose.  As public officials, we have a responsibility to retrofit and utilize them.

For far too long, communities throughout my district in Red Hook, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and families in Queens, the Bronx and East Harlem, have been unjustly and disproportionately burdened with waste transfer stations and dangerous volumes of diesel truck traffic bound for outer borough stations and out of state processing sites to the detriment of their health.  Brooklyn has more than 22 land-based waste transfer stations and handles approximately 44 percent of the City’s daily waste. The burden of handling more than 80 percent of the City’s waste and recyclable glass, metal and plastic should not be imposed on a few low-income and working class communities in Brooklyn, Queens, East Harlem, and the Bronx.

In 2006, after years of hearings, protests, and legal actions, the City proposed a comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) that established an acceptable, equitable and environmentally sound system for managing the City’s solid waste for the next twenty years. This plan calls for the use of locally accessible MTSs to compact, containerize and export solid waste via waterways and rail instead of by trucks from land based transfer stations.

The reopening of the Gansevoort Pier MTS can help ensure a fairer system.  No neighborhood or borough should suffer more than its fair share of the City's garbage. My constituents understandably resent the truck traffic and congestion on major thoroughfares due to the disproportionate siting of waste facilities, and each one of these New Yorkers is just as important as any individual in Manhattan.  It is of fundamental importance that New York government at all levels recognize this basic equality of all New Yorkers.

In Williamsburg/Greenpoint, the community is working to integrate much needed park and recreational space with the municipal waste and sewage treatment facilities at Newtown Creek, and with industry and jobs in East Williamsburg and at Bushwick Inlet.  Likewise, I am sure that the Hudson River Park can coexist with a state of the art, green recycling facility at Gansevoort Pier.   Also, to its credit, the community of Sunset Park, an environmental justice community, has agreed to absorb both a Marine Transfer Station and a recycling facility under the new plan. If Sunset Park is accepting its fair share, then we can ask the West Village and Chelsea to do the same.

As public servants, we are charged with protecting the environmental rights of all New Yorkers, I urge your support of the environmentally responsible and economically sustainable Solid Waste Management Plan before the Assembly.  Its goal of reopening the Gansevoort Pier MTS is equitable and a viable improvement on our City’s waste crisis.