Upper East Side pushes back against garbage facility

A planned marine waste transfer station, seen across from Asphalt Green's playing field, has Upper East Side residents scrambling for political support to reverse the project.  Credit: Bess Adler/Metro
A planned marine waste transfer station, seen across from Asphalt Green’s playing field, has Upper East Side residents scrambling for political support to reverse the project.
Credit: Bess Adler/Metro

For opponents of a waste transfer station planned for the Upper East Side, the election presents what might be the last opportunity to highlight health concerns and halt its construction.

“We’re looking for the next mayor to stop this,” said Kelly Nimmo-Guenther, president of Pledge 2 Protect, a coalition against the facility.

Of major candidates, six have signed the coalition’s pledge — and opponents are hoping to make the issue stick come November. Nearly every day, volunteers canvas the neighborhood, passing out literature noting candidates who support the heavily-contested East 91st Street marine waste transfer station.

“The next mayor does have the right to look at all of the angles,” Nimmo-Guenther said.

The 91st Street facility is one of several marine transfer stations to be converted after Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council passed a new waste management plan in 2006. Prior to the plan, more than 12,000 tons of residential garbage was processed by private companies in New York and New Jersey.

A 2008 map of upcoming marine waste transfer stations and existing facilities, with circles surrounding  neighborhoods with the highest number of waste transfer stations. Credit: HabitatMap
A 2008 map of upcoming marine waste transfer stations and existing facilities, with circles surrounding neighborhoods with the highest number of waste transfer stations.
Credit: HabitatMap

“I think any candidate that would disrupt this … there would certainly be some blowback in other neighborhoods,” said Gavin Kearney, director of environmental justice at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.

The plan aims to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles trucking through other, lower-income, neighborhoods in the outer boroughs, said Courtney Renken of the Organization United for Trash Reduction & Garbage Equity.

“What we want is for every community to have that share of the burden,” Renken said.

In North Brooklyn where Renken lives, there are 16 such waste stations treating 40 percent of the city’s waste.

Independent Environmental Services Inc. in Greenpoint handles construction and demolition debris. It's one of 16 waste transfer stations in northern Brooklyn. Credit: Bess Adler/Metro
Independent Environmental Services Inc. in Greenpoint handles construction and demolition debris. It’s one of 16 waste transfer stations in northern Brooklyn.
Credit: Bess Adler/Metro

Still, Nimmo-Guenther and those against the facility see it as an unnecessary health risk. One of the main concerns is increased exposure to fumes from trucks that would pass right by Asphalt Green, a not-for-profit sports and fitness complex next to the trash station, currently in the first phase of construction.

Asphalt Green’s executive director, Carol Tweedy, invited all the candidates to come visit the facility to see where garbage trucks would pass through.

“I wouldn’t even have to open my mouth before they go, ‘Oh no, this is not a good idea,’” Tweedy said of those against the facility.

A supporter of the project and the subject of much of the propaganda handed out by its opponents, City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, has said her rivals “continue to pander to residents of the Upper East Side.”

“Some say they would take 91st Street out of the plan altogether,” Quinn said during a speech in June, adding that changing the location could mean another decade before a new plan is approved and implemented.

Executive Director of Asphalt Green, Carol Tweedy with the upcoming garbage dump behind her. Tweedy is worried about kids playing at the not-for-profit sports and fitness complex when the waste transfer station is complete. Credit: Bess Adler/Metro
The executive director of Asphalt Green, Carol Tweedy, stands before the site of the planned garbage dump. Tweedy is worried about kids playing at the nonprofit gym when the waste transfer station is complete.
Credit: Bess Adler/Metro

Still, opponents are resilient.

Asphalt Green will spend roughly $64,000 on an ad campaign against the facility launched last week, which includes sending mailers to some 100,000 Upper East Side residents. At the end of July, several doctors formed their own coalition to target politicians in a new push against the project.

“It flies in the face of medical common sense,” said Dr. Hindola Konrad, an eye surgeon involved with Doctors Who Pledge 2 Protect, noting particulate matter from the facility could harm resisdents’ health.

Konrad, who lives blocks from the proposed waste station, said the new group is going to become more vocal in the coming weeks.

“We’re going to be targeting our legislators in the upcoming election,” Konrad said.

Despite their plans, Kearney doesn’t think it’s wise for candidates to commit to stopping the trash project.

“For a candidate to come in and make a promise that doesn’t affect all New Yorkers, I think it’s a terrible strategy,” he said.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Metro announces Earth Day New York partnership for…

Metro is pleased to announce we are once again the media partner of Earth Day New York for 2014.

International

Putin fields question from NSA fugitive Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of intelligence eavesdropping, asked Russian President Vladimir Putin a question on Thursday during…

Local

Cops release sketch of Madison Avenue jewelry robbery…

Authorities continue to look for a man suspected in a $54,000 jewelry heist at a Madison Avenue store from from last week.

National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

Entertainment

Here's what to do in New York this…

PARTY Brooklyn Book Launch: Bourbon by Dane Huckelbridge, ft. Widow Jane Distilling Tonight, 7 p.m. powerHouse Arena 37 Main St., Dumbo Free, 718-666-3049 www.powerhousearena.com The…

The Word

'Mrs. Doubtfire' sequel in the works

Finally, Hollywood is making your dreams come true - they're making that "Mrs. Doubtfire" sequel you've been clamoring for all these years.

The Word

Lawsuit accuses 'X-Men' director Bryan Singer of raping…

A new lawsuit accuses director Bryan Singer of sexual assault against a minor.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

NBA

Nets-Raptors first round NBA playoffs schedule, TV, times

The Nets tanked their way to the No. 6 seed over the course of the final few games of the season.

NBA

Knicks wrap up season with win over Raptors

The Knicks wrapped up their season as it began — undermanned — but that still didn’t deter them from ending it the right way.

MLB

Adam Warren closes out doubleheader sweep for Yankees

Adam Warren navigated a tricky ninth inning earn the Yankees a 2-0 victory over the Cubs.

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.