environmental justice

Radio(active) City: Is the Wolff-Alport site a new priority at the EPA?

The Wolff-Alport Site. Via The New York Times
The Wolff-Alport Site. Via The New York Times

New York City is a super city. We have it all. But sometimes, having it all means warts-and-all, as is the case with the city’s three Federal Superfund sites. Superfund sites are areas designated by the federal government as hazardous toxic waste disposal sites. The Superfund program holds polluting manufactures liable for the waste their businesses leave behind, and provides compensation, cleanup and emergency response services for the environment and communities surrounding the sites. New York’s Federal Superfund sites — The Gowanus Canal, our very own Newtown Creek, and the Wolff-Alport chemical site in Ridgewood — are a potent reminder of the city’s industrial past, and, perhaps, a new cause celebre in Washington.  Continue reading

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Subway Rats Join the Brunch Craze, Firefox Gives out Free Coffee and the BQX Unveils a Prototype — the Hook-up (11/17)

Subway rats are on trend this week.
Subway rats are on trend this week.

Move over, Pizza Rat, there’s a new celebrity rodent in town. This week, a subway rat went full “Brooklyn” and jumped on the avocado craze. While waiting for the G at Greenpoint Avenue on Tuesday, filmmaker Jessica Edwards captured a video of a rat hauling a slice of avocado along the tracks.

That’s not the only food-based transit story in the news this week. Mozilla launched a Firefox browser update this week, and claims its internet service is now faster than Google Chrome. To celebrate, Firefox operated a free “Firefox Fast Ferry” between Greenpoint and Manhattan from Tuesday-Thursday. The rides included complimentary donuts, coffee and live music.

Speaking of riding in style, the first prototype of the Brooklyn-Queens Connector, or BQX, was unveiled on Monday. Also known as the Gentrification Express, the proposed streetcar would run along the waterfront from Astoria to Sunset Park.

The advocacy coalition “Friends of BQX” is pushing Mayor de Blasio to make the streetcar a priority during his second term, at the same time as glass high-rise developments begin to engulf Greenpoint’s waterfront.

But, there may be some environmental justice for Greenpoint courtesy of the Long Island Sound. Much of the Nitrogen that contributes to “dead zones” in the Long Island Sound comes from waste treatment plants in New York City. Pressure from advocacy groups like Save Our Sound could lead to technological upgrades at Newtown Creek.

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UPDATE: Superfund Nuhart Plastics. Seriously, you REALLY need to read this!


Since last Thursday’s meeting, many of you have written me personally expressing concerns about Nuhart’s status and what it means for the hood when a Superfund cleans up its act and turns into an “affordable luxury condo building”.  Sadly, what is happening at Nuhart is not an April Fool’s joke.

Well, I have good and bad news to report about our darling little Superfund.  I suggest we bust out our hazmat suits and get suited up. I’m going to take us into the trenches and talk about toxic plumes.

Yes, you read that correctly. There are TWO plumes at Nuhart, not one.

Got your suit zipped and your mask on tight? Alright Greenpointers, let’s get dirty and talk toxins. Continue reading

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The votes are in for Greenpoint’s Large Environmental Grant!

Last month we cast our votes on how to spend Greenpoint’s pot of $19 million ExxonMobil settlement money. Now it’s time to see who came out on top as the GCEF large/legacy grants winners! Out of the 13 prospective projects, 6 lucky dogs were chosen by you to receive a total of $11 million dollars in grant funding. If that wasn’t awesome enough, the selected winners come with an additional $23 million in matching funds. When everything is all said and done, Greenpoint will receive nearly $35 million dollars–that’s almost double what the state was able to squeeze out of the ExxonMobil suit!

So without further adieu, here are the winners…

  • · Greenpoint Environmental Education at Greenpoint Library (Brooklyn Public Library)
  • · Greening Greenpoint (City Parks Foundation)
  • · Intertidal Wetland Project (Research Foundation of CUNY (LaGuardia Community College)
  • · Greenpoint Eco-Schools (National Wildlife Federation)
  • · Curb Your Litter: Greenpoint (Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce)
  • · West Street Watershed Stormwater Project (Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, Inc.)

Congratulations to all the winners. Looks like we can finally put some green back into Greenpoint. I think we can all toast our glasses to that!

For more details on these selected projects or the small grant winners check out the GCEF website.

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Q&A: Mike Schade talks toxins at Nuhart Plant. Everyone needs to read this!

Photo credit: Fabien Palencia

The other day I sat down with my friend, fellow Greenpointer, and hardcore environmental justice advocate, Mike Schade, to get the skinny on Nuhart Plastics–one of the most toxic sites in the hood–which recently got sold to a developer with plans to convert the festering Superfund site into fancy condos.

When it comes to converting a Superfund site into residential development, gentrification should be the least  just one of our concerns. What’s happening at Nuhart is really serious business because the potential exposure to toxic chemicals is real and something all Greenpointers need to know about.

Continue reading

Category: Community, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments