Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Double Standards: Mayor Delays East Side Waste Transfer Station

As the WSJ is reporting, the city has postponed for five to eight years the construction of a waste transfer station at 91st Street on the Upper East Side. The decision to put the facility there in 2006 was considered a great achievement for environmental justice:

"In 2006, following intense negotiations, the council and the mayor's administration agreed on a comprehensive "Solid Waste Management Plan" that sought to distribute equitably the siting of undesirable sanitation facilities in the five boroughs.

But the mayor's current budget blueprint upends that objective, critics say, by delaying funding for all of the proposed solid-waste marine-transfer stations in upscale Manhattan—and one in Brooklyn—for five to eight years, well past the end of Mr. Bloomberg's tenure at City Hall. An aide to the mayor said the proposed delay was necessary because of the economy."

Here's the mayor's prudent rationale: "Jason Post, a spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, said the downturn in the economy has forced the administration to reduce all of its expenditures, including for sanitation facilities in the city's capital program."

Smart thinking in this fiscal climate, no? Which, as always brings us to Willets Point where, if you will remember, NYC EDC is plowing ahead with all kinds of expensive and possibly illegal actions in order to get the project jump started.

So we pose a question to all those council members who are complaining about this mayoral about face. How do you avoid tackling the wasteful speculative condemnation here at the Iron Triangle? It certainly appears that the downturn rationale only applies to communities of color, but not to mayoral legacy projects.

Supposedly, according to the NY Daily News, the mayor might be reconsidering: "Bloomberg said he had to cut the funds because of the city's cash crunch - but he is reconsidering. "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," said mayoral spokesman Jason Post. He said the city is looking for ways to restore some of the funding."

If so, we know just where he can get the money from. All it takes is a little push back from the advocates and their council allies.