Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Council member Annabel Palma, the head of the Bronx Council delegation, joined up with other Council members and environmental justice advocates at City Hall today to rail against Mayor Bloomberg's plan to shelve the building of four new waste transfer stations – three Manhattan and one Brooklyn.
As it stands now, some 60 percent of the city's waste is taken to transfer stations in Newton Creek (Brooklyn) and Hunts Point in the South Bronx. The new stations would have eased this saturation, which residents say leads to foul odors and heavy truck pollution.
“If approved, this proposal [to not fund the new transfer stations] almost exclusively concentrates the burden of handling NYC’s solid waste in a handful of low-income communities of color in Brooklyn and the Bronx – yet again,” it said in a press release sent out by the New York Environmental Justice Alliance.
The release also warned that the city was considering creating “waste to energy” facilities, which would use incinerators and “whose siting may be restricted to environmentally overburdened communities of color” – like Hunts Point.
“It is only fair, and environmentally responsible, that each borough handle its own garbage. It is time for each borough to do its part, and we cannot afford any more delays,” Diaz said in a statement.
“This Administration has failed to hold up their end of the bargain,” Palma said, in statement. “I, for one, think that the Administration owes these communities an explanation and I believe that their refusal to testify today is indicative of their continuing callous disregard for working New Yorkers and communities of color.”
In a separate press release, Congressman Jose Serrano said he sent a letter to Bloomberg expressing his displeasure. In the letter, Serrano writes: “I am requesting the immediate restoration of this critical funding in your budget. Our Bronx community will not accept budget shortfalls as a reason to tolerate any further delays in achieving the improvements to our environment that we deserve and were promised. I hope that your amended budget, which will be released in May, rectifies this serious problem.”
In a Daily News article, which we linked to in today's new roundup, a Bloomberg spokesperson said, “The administration remains fully committed to [the 2006 plan's] principles of borough equity, using rail and barge to transfer solid waste, [and] relieving the burden of waste receiving from certain communities.”