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Public Has 30 Days To Comment on Marine Transfer Station Permits, City Says

By Shaye Weaver | June 30, 2015 5:50pm
 The State DEC has opened the window for public comment on three environmental permits that the city's Marine Transfer Station needs to move forward.
Marine Transfer Station Permits Up For Debate
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YORKVILLE—Three environmental permits for the still-under-construction Marine Transfer Station at East 91st Street and York Avenue are up for renewal and the public has until July 24 to submit their comments on the matter.

Since the public comment period started on June 24, more than 15,000 letters have been sent to the State Department of Environmental Conservation asking it to reconsider issuing the permits, according to Pledge 2 Protect, one of the organizations fighting the waste facility.

"Many in the community and Pledge 2 Protect believe that there have been enough changes in the environment, the laws and in the situation to merit new a new environmental impact study and that merit the reevaluation of the permits," said Frank Baraff, a spokesman for the group. "When there are material changes, the DEC must look into it and review the permits."

To continue construction, the Department of Sanitation needs to renew their tidal wetlands, air state facility and solid waste permits. The department originally obtained the five-year permits in October 2009 and are still in effect while the city's applications are pending with the state, according to Vito Turso, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio's office. 

Pledge 2 Protect argued that the DEC needs to take into account several issues that have surfaced since the last time the permits were granted, including increase in population, air pollution, and a new finding that diesel fumes can cause cancer and an increased risk of flooding post-Hurricane Sandy.

But the mayor's office said that the project underwent detailed environmental review that was updated in 2012 with additional studies that took such changes into consideration.

The 10-story transfer station, which will encompass three blocks, is expected to be completed by 2020. The station is designed to collect and transfer waste from four districts of Manhattan, according to the city.

The project has worried residents because of its proximity to Asphalt Green, a community fitness center, and public housing projects.

"No change in conditions has occurred that would require a reevaluation of the permits," Turso said.

Nonetheless, City Councilman Ben Kallos is urging constituents to voice their concerns during the comment period.

"With a public comment period for the permits up for review, our community has an opportunity to make our voices heard," he said in a statement. "I urge the DEC to fulfill its mandate to protect our neighborhoods and our environment by stopping the permits for the irresponsible and ill-conceived Marine Transfer Station."