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Solid waste transfer station in Gravesend Bay passes hurdle

The Brooklyn Paper
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A state lawmaker last week appealed to the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) commissioner to prevent a waste transfer station from coming to Gravesend Bay.

The lawmaker, Assemblymember William Colton, also called for a letter-writing campaign to Gov. David Paterson to halt the permitting process.

The Southwest Marine Transfer Station, planned for 1824 Shore Parkway, is one of several waste transfer facilities planned citywide as part of the Department of Sanitation’s (DOS) Solid Waste Management Plan.

Colton’s move comes after a DEC administrative law judge upheld the approval stating the agency does not have the power to deny a solid waste permit based on issues of public health and safety.

The DEC does have the right to stop the work if tests prove that the soil beneath the bay has dangerous contaminants. That testing must be done 60 days prior to when dredging of the bay is set to commence.

The dredging is necessary for larger barges to be able to load and unload waste at the station.

“This decision has to be set aside by the commissioner, because it undermines the very mission of the DEC, which is to protect the public health, safety, and environment in the decisions that it makes,” said Colton.

“Governor Paterson now has an obligation to show leadership in this matter and do all that he can to protect the health and quality of life of the residents of southern Brooklyn,” he added.

Colton led a group last year in arguing before the DEC administrative judge that dredging the bay and placing the transfer station at the site would release toxic contaminants as well as possible live ammunition from a boat that sank in the bay during World War II.

Additionally, Colton said the waste transfer station would cause undue traffic congestion and create an environmental injustice because the proposed site was an incinerator for over 30 years, where people in the community were exposed to numerous toxins.

DEC spokesperson Maureen Wren said Commissioner Peter Grannis received Colton’s appeal.

“Responses to the appeal from the other parties are due Sept. 23. Following that date, the materials will be reviewed and a decision issued on the permit,” she said.

Paterson spokesperson Morgan Hook said it is the governor’s understanding the DEC has not finalized permits yet.

“We have no comment, particularly as the permitting process is continuing,” Hook said.

DOS spokesperson, Kathy Dawkins,had no comment on either the administrative law judge decision or on Colton’s appeal.

However, sheexpressed confidence the permit will ultimately be approved.

“We are moving ahead with the project,” she said.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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