Oil Gorillas, a waste oil removal company, is no ordinary company. You may have seen their trucks in and around our neighborhoods or see their stickers on the side of some of Bensonhurst’s markets and eateries. What you may not have seen or known is the story of owner and founder Eugene Komissarov.
Archive for the tag 'environment'
Congressman Michael Grimm sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers raising concerns over the proposed waste transfer station at Bay 41st Street.
Grimm joins with Assemblyman William Colton, Andrew Gounardes and a host of other local leaders and concerned citizens in questioning the erection of the station at the edge of Gravesend Bay. It also puts him in the rather odd position of agreeing with his Democratic opponent, Mark Murphy, who seems to go through great pains to show how different from Grimm he is.
But, hey, it doesn’t get more apolitical than garbage, right?
The local representatives have noted a variety of issues pertaining to the station. For one, residents believe that the waste incinerator that was situatied in the same place several years ago is toxic and may cause cancer. Thus, dredging the water would bring up the toxic ash that has long been sitting at the bottom of the bay.
Grimm brings up the dangers surrounding unexploded ammunition that fell to the bottom of the harbor from the USS Bennington in 1954. He is requesting more information pertaining to any possible dangers surrounding the dredging.
“Safety should always remain a top priority when moving forward with any project, and the presence of unexploded munitions certainly raises strong concerns among members of the southwest Brooklyn community. Before any action begins on the proposed waste transfer station, I am seeking assurance from the Army Corps of Engineers that any dredging will not compromise the safety of the residents, their property, or the bay. No project is worth jeopardizing public safety, and I look forward to working with the Corps to receive its full assurance that the dredging will be 100 percent safe,” he said in a release.
At a rally attended by approximately 150 area residents, Assemblyman Bill Colton and heads of various local organizations blasted a Department of Sanitation plan to install a waste transfer station in Gravesend Bay, saying they don’t trust the organization and will continue their fight to halt construction.
But the Sanitation Department said it’s moving ahead with their plans, anyway.
The opponents gathered on Sunday at the Bay Parkway Promenade next to Caesar’s Bay, toting signs of opposition. Assemblyman Bill Colton spoke against the plan, as did Congressional candidate Mark Murphy, State Senate Candidate Andrew Gounardes, District Leader candidate Ari Kagan and local environmental and neighborhood activists.
At issue is the Sanitation Department’s proposal to reactivate an old Sanitation facility on Bay 41st Street off Shore Parkway, turning it into a waste transfer station where trucks will bring garbage, formally known as the Southwest Brooklyn Marine Transfer Station, load it onto a barge, and ship it out. But, according to Colton, the plan will require dredging of the waters around it, which will stir up a toxic blend of chemicals laying dormant on the bay’s floor, a mix he’s dubbed “black mayonaisse.”
“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?”
The toxic stew formed, in part, with the help of the agency itself. The proposed site is the former location of a waste incinerator. Colton said the department has a bad track record in the neighborhood, as the previous facility operated without proper permits, and did not take precautions to contain environmental damage. Colton, who led the fight to shut down the facility in the 1990s, said toxic ash from the incinerator rained down on nearby homes, senior centers and into the water – and the ensuing years have seen increased reports of cancer and related-illnesses.
Adding an additional layer of risk to the proposal, Colton said the discovery of live munitions from a capsized WWII military barge near the Verrazano Bridge means that dredging could lead to an explosion.
Just as in his fight to shut down the incinerator, Colton has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the community to block the agency from going forward with its plans.
But that doesn’t appear to concern the Sanitation Department, which told Bensonhurst Bean that the benefit of getting trucks off the road outweigh any perceived risk of an environmental catastrophe.
“The Department of Sanitation is moving forward with plans to construct this state of the art containerized marine transfer station that will allow waste from south Brooklyn to be shipped by barge to rail centers where it will be moved to landfills out of the state,” a Sanitation spokesperson said. “In doing so, a reliable and environmentally sound system for managing the city’s waste, a fair and equitable distribution of waste management throughout the five boroughs, and a significant reduction in truck traffic through city streets are achieved. The marine transfer station is part of the Mayor’s Solid Waste Management Plan that was overwhelmingly approved by the City Council and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.”
Los Angeles, New York’s smoggier and smuggier cousin has done the unthinkable: They’ve banned the single-use plastic bag.
Although plastic bags were only introduced to supermarkets in the late 70’s (I know, right, it feels like they have been around forever), they quickly became a ubiquitous part of daily life.
Unfortunately, because of their ever-gaining popularity, they also became an environmental hazard. Scientists estimate that more than 315 billion pounds of plastic are in the oceans right now. Not to mention the countless plastic bags flying around Bensonhurst like flockless plastic pigeons.
In a surprising move, the city of Los Angeles outlawed the polyethylene bag, joining San Jose, Long Beach, Malibu and Berkeley.
There were rumblings here and there about a New York plastic bag tax or ban, but thus far, nothing has taken root. If L.A.’s bag ban influences New York politics, get used to hearing “paper or paper” at the checkout line.
Do you think plastic bags should be banned in New York City?
“What the What?” is a new photo feature looking at odd, weird and interesting things in the neighborhood. If you have photos of what the what happenings in Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights or the surrounding areas send them to lvladimirova [at] bensonhurstbean [dot] com.
A package of bills aimed at the environmental betterment of New York were passed by the State Assembly and have advanced to the State Senate.
The “Earth Day” package contains nine bills aimed at securing the health of New York’s environment, including protecting clean drinking water, protection from toxic chemicals, reducing invasive species, innovative recycling techniques and other forms of environmental justice.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Robert Sweeney announced the passage of the Earth Day package.
“Keeping our air and water clean, creating as little landfill waste as possible, protecting all New Yorkers from harmful chemicals, the Assembly Earth Day package is intended to protect our communities and the natural beauty of our state. The bills included in this package underscore the Assembly’s commitment to environmental conservation,” said Sweeney in a press release.
The package includes Bill A.1241, which is sponsored by Assemblyman William Colton.
The bill will improve recycling by diverting recyclables from landfills. It also states that systems for separating and disposing of recyclables will have to be implemented, such as separate plants for recyclable items. Further, cities would need to enforce new laws that prohibit the mixing recyclables with any other non-recyclable material as well as prohibit landfills from taking any recyclables.
“New York State has come a long way since 1985 in statewide recycling practices,” said Colton, as reported by the Legislative Gazette. “Twenty years of experience has allowed the Department of Environmental Conservation and Empire State Development to easily identify materials that are common to most programs in the state and that have had consistently viable markets.”
Other bills in the package require publicly owned sewage treatment plants to report any overflows of untreated or partially treated sewage; draw attention to harmful chemicals as well as lessen the number exposures to them; Require the DEC to publish a list of the most dangerous areas affected by existing environmental hazards; Require the DEC to establish a website with a list of harmful chemicals used in children’s products and ban them; Encourage the proper disposal of pharmaceutical drugs, and a host of other environmental concerns.
Students and staff at P.S. 48 in Mapleton received accolades for their environmental initiatives to conserve energy, increase recycling and reduce their carbon footprints.
The project, called the Green Cup Challenge, is an annual student-led competition to measure and reduce school-based electricity use for one month. The competition, which ran from March 2 to the 30, was created by the Green Schools Alliance (GSA), a nonprofit organization of public and private schools whose aim is to meet the Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC target of cutting carbon emissions 30 percent by 2017, according to a release by the Department of Education.
“My hat goes off to our students and staff this year for a terrific job preserving our natural resources and reducing the carbon footprint for future generations,” Chancellor Dennis Walcott said. “I also want to thank our city agencies and non-profit partners for helping to cut energy use in school buildings-which, as a whole, consume 25 percent of the electricity used in New York City public facilities.”
P.S. 48 was able to reduce their electricity by 28 percent. They received a $4,000 grant sponsored by the Department of Education and the City’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services for their hard work.
The environmental movement has taken root all over New York. From compost workshops in Flatbush to community gardens in Park Slope, the support for localized sustainable agriculture grows. Now, there is something else. BrightFarms, a sustainable agricultural hydroponics business, recently announced plans to build the world’s largest rooftop garden in Sunset Park. The rooftop farm will be located on the roof of a former U.S. Navy building, Federal Building #2.
The 100,000 square foot hydroponic greenhouse will grow up to 1 million pounds of local produce a year, including tomatoes and various herbs, according to Super Market News.
“I am so pleased that the revitalization of Federal Building #2 is continuing,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler in a press release. “As we watch this once-dormant industrial space recreated as a variety of innovative and productive uses, we can take great pride in the years of work and vision required to come to this point. This site is truly becoming a part of Brooklyn’s working waterfront once again. I look forward to tasting the first tomatoes and lettuce grown on its roof.”
Prior to the rooftop farms announcement, renovation of the unused industrial space created 1,700 construction jobs for New Yorkers according to The Real Deal.
As this project starts taking shape, will other Brooklyn neighborhoods work to transform abandoned or industrial spaces for urban farming? Readers, do we want a similar model here in Bensonhurst and if so, where?
The following is a press release from the office of U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the senior Northeastern Member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, issued the following statement on today’s expected introduction of H.R. 7, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act – the newest federal surface transportation bill designed to fund the nation’s infrastructure needs for five years:
“I am pleased that my Republican colleagues have finally introduced their surface transportation legislation, and I thank Chairman Mica for his important work. However, I am concerned by a number of aspects of this proposal, which falls short of addressing the nation’s most pressing and longstanding problems of Continue Reading »
The following is a press release from the office of Rep. Jerrold Nadler:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the senior Northeastern Member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, criticized the Republican Leadership’s proposal for a transportation authorization bill partially funded through expanded domestic oil and gas drilling. He issued the following statement: Continue Reading »
Being green is a tricky thing.
With 500,000 trees already planted throughout the city, some are saying that these trees creating more problems, according to a New York Times article.
MillionTreesNYC, a public-private program, hopes to plant one million trees throughout the five borough of New York City in the next decade. Heavily touted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the group believes the trees will be beneficial to New York City, pointing out the environmental boost it would give by providing clean our air, absorbing carbon dioxide, and reducing air pollution that effects asthma victims. But many residents worry that these trees will lead to buckling sidewalks, leaf litter and tree limbs on the floor – violations that could cost homeowners thousands of dollars, whether they wanted the trees or not.
“Most people love trees,” said Adrian Benepe, the commissioner of the Parks Department. “But this being New York, you’ll always find someone who doesn’t want a tree.”
Part of the reason so many are concerned is that budget cuts have cause the city to dramatically slash back the pruning cycle for the city’s trees. The regular pruning cycle for a street tree used to be seven years, but now it’s once every 15 to 20 years; which means there will likely be more fallen branches and unkempt trees throughout the city, and a potential danger to pedestrians.
The article also mentions that, depending on the location, studies that show 7 percent to 11 percent of newly installed trees die within two years of planting.
Have you had problems with trees buckling sidewalks on your block? Have you ever been fined for it? Is this program worth the potential aggravation? Let us know in the comments!