The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman William Colton:
- Date: Sunday, August, 5, 2012
- Time: 12 p.m.
- Place: Bay Parkway Promenade, near Caesar’s Bay shopping area
A growing chorus of Southern Brooklyn residents and community organizations will take to the streets this Sunday at noon at a rally to support Assemblyman William Colton’s lawsuit against the city’s proposed garbage station for Bensonhurst. The event, located at the Bay Parkway promenade overlooking Gravesend Bay, is expected to draw a coalition of local residents, environmentalists, wildlife preservationists, and representatives from a swath of New York City organizations.
“We are in for a battle against this dangerous garbage plan, but the health and future of Bensonhurst’s families are well worth the fight,” asserted Assemblyman Colton, who has been spearheading the neighborhood’s battle against the city’s toxic waste facility proposal for Bensonhurst since it was first announced in 2004.
From collecting thousands of petitions to organizing flotilla protests, Assemblyman Colton is now taking his fight against the toxic waste plan to the courtroom. In light of a recent New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner’s Decision, Assemblyman William Colton announced that he has filed a lawsuit to block the city’s plan to construct and operate a waste transfer station at the site of the former Southwest Brooklyn incinerator, located near Shore Parkway and Bay 41st Street in Bensonhurst. The Brooklyn legislator is no stranger to this fight as he led a successful lawsuit in the 1990’s to shut down the Southwest Brooklyn incinerator.
“People near the former incinerator have suffered enough at the hands of the city’s reckless waste management. Residents near the former incinerator have reported increased cases of cancer, asthma, and other serious chronic ailments. They woke up each morning to find ash from incineration on their windows. As we are still reeling from the aftermath of 30 years of illegal incineration, we cannot allow another dangerous plan to move forward and wreak further havoc on Southwest Brooklyn’s residents and environment,” stated Colton.
It was only in 2004 when Colton and community residents celebrated the demolition of the Southwest Brooklyn incinerator. However, as the community was still reeling from the aftermath of over 30 years of illegal incineration, the city administration drew up plans to receive, containerize, and ship out tons of waste at the proposed site near Shore Parkway. The city concedes that the water near the proposed site is too shallow for waste-carrying barges to enter and leave. Thus, the city will be forced to repeatedly dredge the bottom of Gravesend Bay in order to allow the barges to continuously operate. That is why Colton and community groups are gravely concerned.
Sensing that the bottom of Gravesend Bay is littered with toxins spewed out by the former incinerator, Colton funded a study of the bay’s surface and the results were alarming.
“Black mayonnaise,” was the term used by scientists in their analysis of what they observed in the surface samples.
“Scientists have confirmed what many in the community feared…There were unsafe levels of mercury and other harmful toxins found at the bottom of Gravesend Bay. The samples were taken by just scratching the surface rather than by digging deep below the surface where the dredging will reach. This leads others and me to wonder: What other dangers lie further below Gravesend Bay?” asked Colton. “And how will this toxic material impact the adjacent beaches of Coney Island and Manhattan Beach?”
As Colton and others fear the dangerous sludge that will be dispersed throughout the coast of Southern Brooklyn as a result of repeated dredging, another bombshell discovery was unearthed that prompted even the U.S. Navy to investigate the waters of Gravesend Bay.
Thanks to Assemblyman Colton’s office and volunteer divers, a capsized barge from a World War II aircraft carrier named the USS Bennington was discovered at the bay’s surface.
What were also found were munitions that the ship was carrying during its tour of duty. Thousands of munitions are believed to be scattered across Gravesend Bay leaving many concerned that the dredging can unleash explosive consequences to the safety of residents and wildlife nearby.
“This is another example of what a Swiss cheese environmental impact statement the city came up with when they investigated what adverse impacts their flawed project would have on the community. Their study made no mention of increased levels of mercury, munitions, or a capsized weapons-filled barge. The city is intent on fast-tracking their waste project as quickly as possible, while ignoring the glaring warning signs along the way,” added Colton.
Community groups have stepped up to support Colton in his lawsuit effort by agreeing to being named as parties to the suit. Groups such as “Wake up and Smell the Garbage,” Natural Resources Protective Association, and the No Spray Coalition have all enlisted in supporting Colton’s effort to defeat the waste facility proposal. Representatives from these groups as well as others will be present at Sunday’s rally.