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December 2007

New York mayor urges passage of solid waste management plan

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, State and City elected officials, environmentalists, environmental justice advocates and labor leaders called on the State Assembly to pass legislation authorizing the construction and operation of a marine transfer station (MTS) to handle recyclable paper, metal, glass and plastic at Pier 52 on the Gansevoort Peninsula in Manhattan.

The Gansevoort MTS is a critical component of the Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) adopted by the City Council in July 2006 and approved by the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in October, 2006.

Once operational, the Gansevoort MTS will handle recyclable metal, glass, plastic and paper generated in Manhattan that is currently trucked to facilities in the Bronx, Brooklyn and New Jersey. In addition, the new facility will free-up capacity at an existing transfer station at West 59th Street on the Hudson River to handle Manhattan’s construction and demolition debris under a proposal to be negotiated. The Gansevoort MTS will help to achieve one of the most important goals of the SWMP: ensuring that each borough has the capacity to handle its own waste and recyclables. Building the facility requires an amendment to the Hudson River Park Act, which was passed by the State Senate 53-8 on June 18, and must be passed by the State Assembly and signed into law.

“The Gansevoort Recycling Facility is a critical piece of our 20-year Solid Waste Management Plan and without it, many parts of the City will continue to suffer the burden of heavy truck traffic and environmental injustice,” said Sanitation and Solid Waste Management committee chair Michael E. McMahon.

Once the Gansevoort facility is operational, Department of Sanitation (DSNY) trucks will deliver Manhattan’s recyclable metal, glass, and plastic there, resulting in 30,000 fewer miles traveled on roadways every year. The new facility would also receive Manhattan’s recyclable paper that is currently shipped out of the Marine Transfer Station on West 59th Street in Manhattan, freeing up that facility to receive Manhattan’s construction and demolition debris - currently being trucked to the Bronx and Brooklyn. If the amendment does not pass and the Gansevoort facility is not built, the Solid Waste Management Plan’s requirement that every borough participate in handling its own waste in a substantial way will not be realized.

The new Gansevoort MTS will be a model green building that will replace an existing transfer station that served Manhattan from the 1950s through the early 1990s. The facility will serve as a transfer point for Manhattan’s recyclables and will host an environmental education center that will be a destination for users of Hudson River Park. The environmental center will house a classroom that could provide much-needed indoor space for community uses, as well as a viewing platform and educational panels that will describe the importance of recycling, alternative modes of transportation and the history and ecology of New York harbor.