My name is Liz Krueger, and I represent the 26th State Senate district, which includes Manhattan’s Midtown and East Side. I would like to thank the City Council for hosting this public hearing.
I am here this morning to address a number of serious concerns I have about the City’s draft Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) as a whole, and the proposed construction and operation of a marine transfer station (MTS) at 91st Street in particular.
I would like to make clear that although the majority of my testimony focuses on the proposed 91st Street MTS in my district, I have long been a strong supporter of the environmental justice movements in New York City and believe that we all must be responsible for our own garbage. I am well aware that for all too long, as a result of environmental racism and poor planning, Manhattan’s garbage has unfairly burdened low-income and minority communities in the outer boroughs. The inexcusable concentration of waste disposal facilities in a few neighborhoods has contributed to childhood asthma rates in these communities that are among the highest in the nation and has severely undermined economic development. However, because the draft SWMP does not require private commercial waste haulers in Manhattan to use the more expensive city-owned facilities to be opened in the borough, it is likely that the haulers will continue to use the much less expensive private ones located in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. As a result, it is unlikely that the SWMP, as it is currently drafted, will lead to a noticeable reduction in the amount of commercial waste brought from Manhattan to the other boroughs.
Additionally, as a staunch environmentalist, I support the efforts of the Mayor and the Council to incorporate marine transfer stations into the City’s waste disposal solutions in order to decrease the number of sanitation trucks plaguing our streets. However, I fundamentally oppose operating a marine transfer station (MTS) in any of New York City’s residential neighborhoods, especially those that are densely populated. The placement of a MTS at the proposed 91st Street site is both irresponsible and myopic. The Department of Sanitation’s (DSNY) own siting regulations would absolutely prohibit the placement of a private transfer station at this location due to its proximity to residences and parks. There is no reason why this site should be acceptable for a DSNY operated transfer station when it would be prohibited for a privately operated one.