Thanks for Your Support NYS Assembly Member Joe Lentol!

12994415_614749395345407_2800224689547627662_nAs you can learn about in this New York Times Article, the City Council voted in favor to charge 5 cents/ plastic bag used at qualified businesses!  This was a huge victory in our efforts to clean up our community and encourage New Yorkers to bring their own reusable bags while shopping.

Lentol to Heastie Re Disposable plastic bags

 

Our friends at Bag It NYC and others are working hard to make this a reality, and unfortunately the state legislature is being pressured by the plastic bag industry and there is now pushback.   We would like to thank New York State Assembly Member, Joe Lentol for this support and public opposition to this NYS bill!

 

ladyliberty_bagitnyc-join

 

 

 

How can you support this work? Please Sign this petition, share it widely, write to your senator and say NO to S7336.

Greenpoint Development Meeting

 

Thank you everyone who came out to the Greenpoint Development Meeting on Tuesday at the Polish and Slavic Center.  It was great to see so many community faces and we encourage you to stay connect and involved!  As development grows in our community, its important for us to stay informed.

At the meeting, we heard from representatives of both West Street project and GreenpointLanding, Stephen Levin, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, and the NYC Office of Environmental Remediation.  

The West Street project construction is in full swing and are 60% of the way through their water maining process.  If you live in that water line and you’re seeing sediment in your water- let it run for a bit to fix that problem.  As for Brookfield Properties Greenpoint Landing project, they are creating a waterfront esplanade which will be open to the public, connecting parks on their side. Brookfield Properties is also raising the elevation of their buildings and creating new sewage water lines, as a results of hurricane Sandy’s sewage overflow issues.  Concerns of public space, parking, noise and air pollution were voiced by the community to these developers- who have encouraged folks to stay in touch with them.

 

What do you do if you see something that seems wrong with a site? You can always email us at nag.bklyn@gmail.com, and we will help notify the right people.

 

Finally, Office of Environmental Remediation’s Chief, Superfund and Brownfield Cleanup Section Jane O’Connell has confirmed that they are closely monitoring the toxic underground plumes from the NuHart site which are only across the street from the playground.  Stay tuned for public comment period coming this Fall!!

 

Stay tuned for public comment periods and future community meetings. Also, take a look at this Greenpointers.com article to learn more about the meeting!

Property Owner Issues Revised Feasibility Study for NuHart State Superfund Site

In April 2016, the engineering consultant hired by the NuHart property owners Dupont Street Developers issued a revised Feasibility Study (FS).  This revised FS was released in response to the NYS DEC (DEC) disapproving of the original FS the prior month.   A March 2016 letter from the DEC  raised a number of shortcomings found in the original FS, noting that the report insufficiently addressed items relating to the remediation plan for the contaminated site, and requesting the engineers to review certain portions of the original FS.

In a letter sent along with the revised FS, the property owner’s engineers respond to all of the concerns raised by the DEC — take a look at the engineers’ letter here.

NAG’s Community Technical Advisor, Environmental Stewardship Concepts, also sent a letter to NYSDEC highlighting their own concerns with the original FS.  Currently, the NuHart site engineers are making additional adjustments to the revised FS, and we will know soon whether the FS has reached its final version.  After the FS is final, NAG will hold a public meeting with our Technical Advisor present to explain the report to the community.

STAY TUNED for that meeting and info about the next step in the State Superfund process, the Proposed Remedial Action Plan, which will be issued by the NYSDEC.

That’s when the PUBLIC COMMENT period will occur, and you can weigh in on what should happen at the site!!  NAG will be organizing meetings to assist the community in preparing their own public comments.  This site is contaminated with 40,000-60,000 gallons of toxic phthalates and TCE (see our fact sheets on the chemicals here) and is adjacent to an existing playground, as well adjacent to a site proposed for a school!  The entire community must stay involved and ensure that the contamination is properly addressed.

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 11.21.58 PM

Health Studies and our ToxiCity Map

We got a chance to take a look at the New York State Departments of Heaths most recent Newton Creek Area Health Outcomes Review: Birth Outcomes and Cancer.  Basically, the health review

Canoeing towards a drawbridge over the Dutch Kills part of Newtown Creek.

Canoeing towards a drawbridge over the Dutch Kills part of Newtown Creek.

concludes that “the findings do not provide evidence pointing to health outcome patterns or elections that are likely associated with unusual environmental exposures in the vicinity of Newtown Creek”.   Meaning, they claim that there is no collation between health and environmental pollution in the Newtown Creek.  Although they make this statement, they still do not recommend coming into contact with the water.  That’s a bit fishy.

This brings up concern because looking at the 1992 Department of Health study, they included other health factors like lead levels, asthma, cancer, and birth defects, while the new study only includes cancer and birth defects.  The concern is drawn in that lack of data.

 

Luckily, NAG has worked to create our ToxiCity Map where we show the collation between community health and environmental conditions.  It’s important for us to provide the public with a community perspective and create a space for people to be educated.

May 24th N. Greenpoint Development Meeting and NuHart Update!

Where: Polish Slavic Center at 176 Java Street starting at

When: 6:30 on Tuesday May 24th.

Definitelyurl a good meeting to attend if you have any community questions or want updates! NAG will give an update on the NuHart development, along with additional information from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the NYC Office of Environmental Remediation (OER).

If you are interested in understanding more, check out this commentary from Environmental Stewardship Concept’s,  regarding the NuHart property owner’s initial Feasibility Study (FS): ESC FS Comments for NAG 4.22.16.  Since then, the property owner has submitted a revised FS, which is currently being reviewed by the DEC.

ALSO- We will hear from the Community Liaison for the West Street project and representatives from the Greenpoint Landing Development.  Council Member Levin will be on hand to host the meeting.

See you there!!

Transform Don’t Trash Commercial Waste Study is Out!

Here ingarbage-truck-by-clare-trapassofinal NYC we have an issue with our waste. Since we’re the city that never sleeps, we are also the city that produces the most waste and recycles the least.

Although the world looks to New York City as a leader in fashion, culture, business and more- we are far behind on our waste processing.  Residential waste is collected and processed by the city, while commercial waste is left to the 260 privet haulers (aka trucking) companies.  Transform Don’t Trash NYC is a coalition of some of the best environmental justice organizations in this city- and they have taken on a study to better understand why are we slacking, and what can we do to fix our urgent waste issue here in this beautiful city we call home.

As a lot of us already know, Northern Brooklyn has the largest cluster of waste transfer stations in all of New York City.  This means, when those 260 privet companies send their 4,200 trucks daily to pick up commercial recycling and waste, inefficiency leads to serious environmental and community health risks.

Let’s take a step back to understand why this system is broken.  Transform Don’t Trash NYC’s study breaks down the current system of commercial waste removal.   Halcrow estimates that “commercial haulers drive about 12 miles to collect each ton of waste (including recycling). In contrast, DSNY fleet reports produce estimates of about 4 miles per ton of waste and recyclables collected”.  This is comparing commercial and residential collection.  Since there is only one controller of DSNY- there is space for strategic planning of truck routes.

With privet haulers, they end up driving a lot further and indirectly.  For example, the study took a poll of 1 commercial street in NYC that had 22 different haulers.  Logically, it would make sense to have one truck going down the line and collecting waste from the whole strip- but the system is so broken that we have trucks all over the city creating extreme overlap, traffic, air pollution and more.

So what should we do about this problem? 

Transform Don’t Trash NYC has looked at progressive cities across the country and has recommended a zoning solution through a bidding process that can result in efficient flow of waste to the transfer stations.  This will also be an easier way to enforce commitments on recycling, working conditions, efficiency, pollution reduction, and equity.  By taking these actions, NYC would lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2-4 millions tons of CO2/year , the equivalent of taking up to 800,000 cars off of the road!

How is NAG supporting this waste reduction movement you ask?

As you already may know, the city has committed to an 80% reduction of green house gas emissions by 2050!  NAG is part of making this goal a reality through our various environmental justice projects here in Northern Brooklyn.  Through Reduce Reuse Recycle Greenpoint, we are working with local restaurants to conduct waste audits and consult one on one with businesses to redesign their waste processes.  We want to mitigate the amount of trash that goes into the landfill by education on proper sorting to hauler communication.  As groups like Transform Don’t Trash and others work to incentivize ethical and necessary recycling programming, we are here supporting the implementation.  We want to show our community how simple, cost effective and rewarding reduce, reuse and recycling is.  Until we are able to align our community’s needs with public policy, we need all the support we can get!

Read Transform Don’t Trashes full study here:

DIRTY, WASTEFUL & UNSUSTAINABLE: THE URGENT NEED TO REFORM NEW YORK CITY’S COMMERCIAL WASTE SYSTEM

If you have any further questions or relevant information for the Transform Don’t Trash group, please contact the team at: contact@transformdonttrashnyc.org

Local Environmental Fund Open House- April 30th

Are you overwhelmed with all the new, awesome community based environmental projects? It’s because Greenpoint was awarded $54 million through Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund to support our local projects.  There are so many ways to get involved, learn and benefit from this opportunity.  Make sure you come out to GCEF’s open house event on Saturday, April 30th from 10am-12pm at the Polish National Home, 261 Driggs ave. 

The purpose of this event is to plug the community into all the different projects going on!  If you want to check out the full list of GCEF projects, go to  http://gcefund.org/.

 

gcef 2016 openhouse_flyer_web friendly final

Northern Brooklyn Transportation Public Meeting with DOT

Northern Brooklyn Transportation Public Meeting! Come on out!

WHEN? May 12th and 16th at 6:30PM

WHERE? Swinging 60’s Senior Center, 211 Ainslie st.

There will be two public meetings hosted by the Department of Transportation to address traffic and transportation in the area!  DOT will use the study to look at travel needs and congestion from Newtown Creek to the north and east, Flushing Avenue and Broadway to the south and the East River to the west.  

1280px-NYCDOT.svg

 

The study will focus on “demographics, land use and zoning, traffic, pedestrians and cyclists, safety, parking, public transportation, and movement of goods/trucks in the area” (DOT press release). If you have any concerns or want to be part of this conversation-please come!

 

As you know, transportation advocacy is no news to us here at NAG, in 2014 we created a survey to understand how northern residents get around.  With above average asthma rates (according to NYC DOHMH) and poor air quality in the area, we are particularly concerned about traffic and congestion that leads to worse environmental conditions.

 

Our friends at OUTRAGE (Organization United for Trash Reduction and Garbage Equity) are currently working on a truck traffic and air quality project to better understand where the air pollution from trucks is concentrated in our community.  If you want to volunteer for this project and learn more, contact Sarah at sknispel@stnicksalliance.org!

 

It is exciting that Council Member Stephen Levin and the DOT have organized this initiative so lets show up and represent our community!13051571_10209138655080498_2685272908118468565_n

 

First Curb Your Litter Event of 2016- Success!

13012657_560547997451785_6587727841297496277_n

Thank you everyone that came out!  We had a great time all around Greenpoint picking up, sorting, and tracking trash!  With 85 volunteers cleaning up 40 blocks, who would have guessed it would be so fun? We even got to hear from Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna who spoke on community engagement and creative ways to be less wasteful.  People came from Greenpoint and beyond to participate.  Collecting 600 pounds of trash- there is still so much to do!

imgres13062100_560548094118442_6025721581370971924_n

So if you missed us last weekend- the next Clean Up day is Saturday, May 7th 10-2pm at Kickstarter (58 Kent street)  RSVP- and bring your friends and family!  Free lunch as always.

12987198_560548080785110_5814342597906295483_n13010892_560548000785118_46884513224647006_n

865e74c9-aca3-49c0-861c-eab511dbd4ab51b67ce0-abd7-4b14-bbfa-ca06365ff92e

Lead in Soil project- Calling all Gardeners and Parents!!

92f204b7-18d0-4815-9a6c-bde3a2334cbf

As we start to clear out these April      showers and get ready for May flowers- we  are launching our new Lead in Garden Soil  Outreach project.

Lead exposure is a huge problem  here in Northern Brooklyn.  Greenpoint has  one of the highest levels of lead  contamination in the city, and double the  childhood blood lead levels of any other neighborhood. This heavy, soft, malleable metal is dangerous and can affect almost every organ and system in the body.

But before you freak out…  exposure to lead in the soil is only harmful through direct contact with the soil or its plants. That’s why we are focusing on children and gardeners — to reduce exposure risk in vulnerable populations.

We are working with soil experts at the Brooklyn College Environmental Science Analytical Center and Eco-Schools to host workshops for the community to come learn more about how to garden safely.  These experts will show us how to protect our community from harmful lead in our soil.

We will also be providing education to our local elementary schools, to help develop curriculum about lead soil exposure.  Stay tuned for more info and contact us if you would like to be involved further!

If you’ve ever had your soil tested and would like to share the results, let us know!