North Shore Waterfront Conservancy of Staten Island, Inc.
Creating Livable Communities
Welcome to the North Shore Waterfront Conservancy of Staten Island, Inc.’s web site.
NSWC is a community based grass roots organization. Our mission is to advance and promote increased safe and sustainable public access to the waterfront. To build healthier, greener communities along the Kill Van Kull. To advance public policies and laws to be inclusive of the needs of Staten Island’s North Shore environmental justice communities and waterfront communities. While working with civic associations, neighborhoods and environmental groups, businesses, industries, government agencies and the general public, like you!
By the way if you see something that is posted with a old post date it doesn't mean that it is old. It simply means that it is still going on.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: THURSDAY, AUGUST 1, 2013
CONTACT: Ira Arlook, Fenton Communications, 202-258-5437; firstname.lastname@example.org
Organizations Representing Communities Surrounding the Port of NY/NJ…
SUE U.S. COAST GUARD & PORT AUTHORITY FOR
ACTIONS THAT ENDANGER PUBLIC HEALTH
Ask Federal Court to Stop the Plan to Raise the Bayonne Bridge
Until the U.S. Coast Guard Completes a
Full Environmental Impact Study
Cite Violation of Federal Law for Failing to Investigate Likely High Rates of Heart Disease, Lung Cancer & Asthma, & Exposure to Hazardous Contaminants in Newark, Bayonne & Staten Island
NEW YORK - Citing repeated attempts to ignore the evidence about the enormous hazards to public health of the current plan to raise the Bayonne Bridge, a coalition of organizations representing neighborhoods in Newark, Bayonne and Staten Island surrounding the Port of New York and New Jersey filed suit in Federal District Court in Manhattan yesterday against top U.S. Coast Guard administrators and the all members of Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ or Port Authority). The lawsuit calls on the U.S. Coast Guard to complete a full, legally required study of the likely harmful health and environmental consequences.
Specifically, the suit makes the following points:
1) By issuing a permit amendment to the Port Authority NY&NJ to begin raising the level of the Bayonne Bridge without conducting a full Environmental Impact Statement(EIS), the U.S. Coast Guard violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This law requires such an investigation whenever a project could generate high levels of air pollution particularly when those disproportionately affected are members of low income communities of color. In this case, the potential health harms would be caused by increased diesel truck emissions, and exposure to hazardous contaminants including lead, arsenic, asbestos and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls),
2) The U.S. Coast Guard and Port Authority played a deceptive game: On the one hand, the Port Authority promoted the project to President Obama and the U.S. Department of Transportation as necessary to generate increased business for the port. On the other hand, the U.S. Coast Guard falsely claimed there would be little or no increase in cargo, no significant environmental impact. These claims were designed to convince government there was no need for a full EIS.
3) The U.S. Coast Guard did conduct a much less rigorous Environmental Assessment (EA)., upon which it based its conclusion that there would be no significant impact. But it failed to make its data available for public scrutiny as required by law. An analysis commissioned by the plaintiffs’ coalition disputes the U.S. Coast Guard’s finding won’t increase the volume of cargo and accompanying truck, train and ship traffic in the region. To the contrary, it found cargo volume would be on the order of 44% higher if the bridge level were raised, with an accompanying increase in premature deaths from toxic diesel exhausts. Currently over 7,000 trucks travel in and out of the port each day.
4) Residents of the North Shore of Staten Island, already exposed to deadly chemicals by previous industrial uses in the area, face exposure to additional hazardous contaminants during the construction required to raise the bridge. The area has already been designated by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) as one of ten “Environmental Justice Showcase Communities” because of the large number of children with elevated lead levels in their blood.
Plaintiffs in the suit include Coalition for Health Ports, North Shore Water Conservancy of Staten Island, Inc., Elm Park Civic Association, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Defendants include U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Robert Papp, Jr. and Gary Kassof, and members of the Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority of NY & NJ, all in their official capacities.
“The Port Authority has expressed a callous disregard and arrogance when it comes to the public. They claim they will do no harm and port trucking will not increase much with the raising of the Bayonne Bridge. But who are they kidding? Why would the Port Authority spend $1 billion to raise the Bayonne Bridge to move just 54 more trucks of goods each day? It is ludicrous and dishonest. Supersized Panamax ships will bring more goods resulting in more trucks on our roads. The Port Authority is headed in the direction of doing the health and community harm. It doesn’t have to be that way. The Coalition for Healthy Ports (CHP) and PANYNJ agree on one thing that the expansion of the port and bridge raising should be done; but CHP wants it done the right way –resulting in good jobs and clean air for port communities,” - Amy Goldsmith, Chair, Coalition for Healthy Ports.
The U.S. Coast Guard has given the green light to the Port Authority to expand without any mitigation or even acknowledgement of the unfair burden that the raising of the Bridge will have on our communities. Ironbound residents will continue to suffer the health consequences from increased air pollution that this project will bring. We asked them for a fair assessment and the reasonable mitigation of these impacts - but what we got was complete disregard for our concerns and for our residents' well being," - Ana I. Baptista, PhD., Environmental & Planning Projects Director Ironbound Community Corp, and Coalition for Healthy Ports Steering Committee Member.
“I am a 4th generation Newarker, live in the South Ward of Newark, near the port and have three asthmatic children. I never want to have to rush my child to the emergency room again because they are gasping for breath due to an asthma attack. Someday I might not make it in time. I have other members of my family who didn't," - Kim Gaddy, NJ Environmental Justice Alliance, and NJ Environmental Federation/Clean Water Action Environmental Justice Organizer.
“This is a moral issue. The ports cause pollution that hurts the surrounding communities – poor people who struggle every day. This project is going to make that pollution worse. But the Port Authority and U.S. Coast Guard are in denial about that. This project can happen in a way that’s good for the economy and fair to the community. Why won’t the Port Authority do that?” - Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director, GreenFaith, and Coalition for Health Ports Steering Committee Member.
“We looked at the U.S. Coast Guard’s “No Significant Impact” Statement in connection to the raising of the Bayonne Bridge as a death sentence for the people in our communities. Their decision in the Environmental Assessment to ignore the severity of the cumulative, adverse and hazardous exiting conditions in the environmental justice communities of Port Richmond, Elm Park and Mariners Harbor and along our waterfront is immoral and unethical. It is also an outright violation of our people’s civil, human and environmental justice rights,” - Beryl A. Thurman, Executive Director/President, North Shore Waterfront Conservancy of Staten Island, Inc.
“The Coast Guard's determination of no significant impact on our community is, to put it kindly, questionable. The entire assessment is fatally flawed, conducted as a pro forma exercise, with the result a forgone conclusion: an insult to our neighborhood. We demand an actual, carefully considered, assessment, weighing the true impact of this enormous project, spelling out specific mitigations. As an EPA-designated Environmental Justice Showcase Community, we ask: where is the justice? We await the answer." –Victoria Gillen, President, Elm Park Civic Association.
“The U.S. Coast Guard’s finding of “no significant impact,” flies in the face of evidence. The increase in cargo volumes and diesel truck trips will lead to significant direct, indirect, and cumulative air quality damage to the communities surrounding the port and this harm will be disproportionately borne by low income, minority communities in the Newark area,” - Aaron Kleinbaum, Legal Director, Eastern Environmental Law Center, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs.
“We can update the Bayonne Bridge and protect the health of surrounding communities at the same time—but the Port Authority and U.S. Coast Guard must stop cutting corners,” said Melissa Lin Perrella, Senior Attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council and one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs. “By taking the time to properly evaluate the risks and identifying how to protect against them, we can capture the good jobs this project promises without sacrificing the health of its neighbors.” - Melissa Lin Perella, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs.
Beryl Thurman, Executive Director/President. Posted 8/02/2013
Associated Press: Panama Canal Project Raises Ire Around East Ports , by Katie Zezima
Bill Moyers' Show on " The Toxic Politics of Science" well worth taking the time to watch:
Remediation is a Necessity not a Nicety
The remediation and clean up of Staten Island’s North Shore waterfront is a necessity whose time has come. It is obvious that residents complaining for years about its unkemptness, the odors, or hospital visits weren’t enough to stir anyone into action.
And even though scientists, scholars and environmentalists went to great lengths to explain the vulnerabilities of the New York City’s coast line to Climate Change to the powers that be and anyone else that would listen. And with all of the envisioning being done by NYC Economic Development Corporation of what Staten Island could look like. It appears that none of that envisioning could foresee that Staten Island’s North Shore with its industrial and maritime shore line would be susceptible to sea level rising, storm surges and flooding that could and did push contaminants and pollutants back towards the residential communities.
It was the kind of concern that only those in Environmental Justice communities and their leaders could identify with. As they were the ones who were watching with great foreboding the after effects of similar industrial coast lines and adjacent residential communities along the East Coast during tropical storms and hurricanes.
Remediating Staten Island’s North Shore’s contaminated properties is only the beginning of a series of activities that will be need to be done in order to make the shore line more resilient to Climate Change. NSWC sincerely hopes that as we move forward the Environmental Justice Communities that we advocate on behalf and this organization will experience less difficulties in being heard and receiving the kind of assistance and resources that are needed consecutively. To enable the thoughtful and meaningful work that NSWC is providing so that we can continue to give support to these communities.
NSWC is a member of the Sandy Regional Assembly a gathering of Environmental Justice organizations from New York and New Jersey who are being proactive in seeking solutions in helping our communities become resilient, sustainable and to adapt to whatever lessons Climate Change brings.
The Sandy Regional Assembly Press Conference held April 1, 2013 (audio link)
Pacifica Radio 99.5 FM NYC:
Just remember it never hurts to talk about what is happening now in relationship to the future.
Climate Change Is Real !
Since 2005 NSWC has been very vocal about Climate Change and how vulnerable Staten Island's North Shore would be to sea level rising, storm surges and flooding especially with Nor' Easters or a Class 1 to 3 Hurricane. Staten Island's North Shore waterfront is in a flood plain and we have talked about that in reference to the contaminated sites at the waterfront. We also said that it is not a matter of if we were going to be hit by a severe storm, but that it is a matter of when. The concern then as it is now - would Staten Island's North Shore be prepared for such an event?
Proposed Development Projects along Staten Island's North Shore that are either in the flood plain or wetlands:
Spectra Energy's un-Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion, Arlington, Staten Island - flood plain
New York City EDC's New York Container Terminal 4th Berth Expansion, Arlington Marsh & Cove, tidal wetlands, Arlington, Staten Island. - wetland
Army Corp of Engineers Blasting and Dredging Project in the Kill Van Kull, Lower Newark Bay and Arthur Kill
Partial Remediation of the Devon Storage Facility, historic tidal wetlands fill, Mariners Harbor, Staten Island- flood plain
New York City EDC's Staten Island Terminal LLC, cement facility, Mariners Harbor, Staten Island - flood plain
Port Authority and Coast Guard's Raising of the Bayonne Bridge, Elm Park and Mariners Harbor, Staten Island - flood plain
Nicholas Avenue 9 1/2 acres, Elm Park, Staten Island, 89 units of housing being built in a wetland and flood plain
New York City EDC's New York Farries Wheel, Retail Outlet Stores, Hotel and Parking lot, St. George, Staten Island- flood plain
New York City EDC's Stapleton Luxury Apartments for 20 and 30 year olds on Front Street, Stapleton, Staten Island - flood plain
If these 9 projects are carried out without there being any mitigation in the form of buffers and or barriers to protect the residential communities that are behind them from Climate Change's: sea level rising, storm surges and flooding, as well as the contaminants and pollutants left from industries, then we truly have learned nothing from Sandy.
And this is where leadership comes into the situation as the truth be told our politicians can no longer afford to be ignorant about the environment, especially on an island. Or how the things that we do to the environment such as building in wetlands and flood plains can so easily affect all of us in very real life threatening and property damaging ways. Development needs to be a lot more than just putting a structure up and then trying to avoid dealing with the consequences later.
Out of all of Staten Island's North Shore waterfront communities that were impacted by sea level rising, storm surges and flooding, the communities that were not effected by Sandy were the Arlington community and the trailer home park community, as both are protected by wetlands. Well played indeed Nature, well played!
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All donations to NSWC are tax deductible to the full extent of the law, NSWC is a 501- C3, Not- For - Profit organization. Thank you for your kindness and support.
If you want to know the history on the EPA Removal Action at the Jewett White Lead/Seduttos Ice Cream factory site you can follow along on the EPA link below.
Jewett White Lead Removal (2000-2012 Richmond Terrace)
Staten Island, NY - EPA Region II
Initial Report - Site Mobilization Activities
We would like to thank Mark Gallo, EPA On Site Coordinator for the Jewett White Lead Site, for completing the Removal Action at the John. J. Jewett and Sons White Lead Company/National Lead Industries/Seduttos Ice Cream Factory site at 2000 - 2012 Richmond Terrace. The EPA did an absolute awesome job at remediating the site.
The photo below is of the Jewett Site during the excavation this is what was left of the old pots that were used in the making of the lead paint. They had been buried in the wall of the property.
Photo by Mark Gallo
We would like to thank all of the people at the EPA for their hard work and dedication. We never could have done any of this without you.
Photo of Port Richmond waterfront.
Want to know more about the US EPA Removal Action on Mariners Marsh Park:
The photo above was taken at the old Coal Tar site that was in Mariners Marsh Park. Mariners Marsh Park (107.5 acres) wasn't always a park as a matter of fact it was iron and steel works company and then a ship building company. These old industrial uses left many very hazardous and dangerous contaminants behind. This site as well as three other sites on the North Shore of Staten Island were designated as U.S. EPA Superfund Sites and are slated for Superfund Removal Actions. More information in the SI ECHO Project...
Wetlands are more than places of beauty.
The opposite of dry is wet, which is our entry to discussions about fresh water wetlands. A few months back we received an invitation to identify any wetlands that are 9 acres or smaller and are not mapped by NYC Department of Environmental Protection, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation or the U.S. EPA. This inquiry was part of a wetland strategy for the PlanNYC the assumption was in the document that many of the smaller wetlands are owned by New York City. Which in Staten Island's case is not true. Many of the smaller fresh water wetlands are privately owned like Nicholas Avenue 9 1/2 acres (seen below in the photo) and the fresh water wetlands over by Richmondtown and Clark Avenue Civic Assoc.
Photo of Nicholas Avenue 9 1/2 acres, summer of 2012
It is common knowledge that wetlands absorb rain and snow runoff containing the water which keeps neighboring properties from flooding. Of course there are questions such as: what about the owner's right to develop their property even if over development is an issue? And then there is the another gripping question, who is responsible for neighboring properties that are flooded when wetlands are developed for other uses?
These are the kinds of critical thinking questions that deserve a well thought out answer. To which we have yet to receive any answers, all the while the smaller wetlands are being developed.
The Richmondtown & Clark Avenue Civic Association are fighting to keep a developer from destroying a neighborhood wetlands! NSWC supports their efforts to save their neighborhood wetlands and we will stand with them in solidarity.
Please view the following link to a You Tube video entitled "The Wetlands." The video was created by one of our residents, and very effectively captures the issues relating to the proposed development. http://youtu.be/Bm8naHqyzww We urge you to click on "Like" if you support the video's message, and share the video with members in your organization. Carol Donovan, President, Richmondtown & Clark Avenue Civic Association.
Want to know more about Staten Island's North Shore? Then Check out our news letter...
NSWC's News Letter on SI ECHO Project !
Prelude to a kiss? Not exactly, more like a prelude to the raising of the Bayonne Bridge. More info on the Lead Paint Removal on the Bayonne Bridge in the SI ECHO Project.
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