Hit the gas! Williamsburg residents, pols fight floating generator

Powering up: The Wallabout Channel, where a developer wants to float a big power plant, despite objections from locals in the past.
Brooklyn Paper
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They are fighting the power!

Williamsburg residents and pols are firing up their efforts to stop a planned floating power plant in the Wallabout Channel after finding out about it only last week — demanding the federal government give them more time to research and weigh in on the gas-burning barge that many worry will pump noise and air pollution into the neighborhood.

“This project raises serious concerns about boaters’ access to the channel and public health and safety,” said Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D–Williamsbu­rg), who fought a similar proposal more than a decade ago. “Before any final decisions are made, there must be a full public review and input from the community.”

Many critics say they only learned of developer Sef Industries’ plan to moor a 79-megawatt natural gas generator the length of a luxury yacht in the water off the Navy Yard when this paper broke the news last Friday.

It did come up briefly at a Community Board 1 meeting on April 12, but some in attendance claim they didn’t realize what was really being discussed at the time.

The Army Corps of Engineers, which is in charge of the passage, is only taking comments on the fossil-fuel-firing dynamo from members of the public until Saturday, but residents and local leaders say that’s not enough time — especially given the company’s public plans are very light on specifics.

State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights), Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Greenpoint), Councilman Steve Levin (D–Williamsbu­rg) and the chairs of Community Boards 1 and 2 penned a joint letter to the federal agency on Tuesday demanding those in the corridors of power host a public hearing, extend the comment period, and reveal more details about the barge.

A rep for Squadron’s office said the Army Corps of Engineers told him it won’t decide whether to grant their wishes until the end of the current comment period.

Velazquez and Lentol battled a similar proposal from Sef in 2003, and a coalition of local activists called Stop the Barge ultimately sunk the scheme with a lawsuit arguing they weren’t given enough time to offer their two cents. The group says it is back in contact with its attorney about the new iteration.

And at least one local says he and others are already planning to leave the nabe if they aren’t successful in stopping it this time around.

“I would relocate out of the area, and perhaps the borough, if the plant was built on the channel and I know I wouldn’t be alone,” said a Williamsburg man who lives at the opening of the channel on Kent Avenue and asked not to be named in case he does end up needing to sell his property.

Sunset Parkers already live next to several of the big buoyant batteries — one of which exploded in 2012.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 3:35 pm, April 28, 2016
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Reasonable discourse

no more fossil fuel from Brooklyn says:
If it isn't green tech, it shouldn't be period.

As we are power consuming pigs, let's face it, we need power. And "localized on the water" all the better as the water gets it away from people and localized puts it where its demand get served as well as reducing the waste energy to get it there.

However, if it's not a waste to energy, tidal or river current facility, it should be scrapped.

Gone are the days where we should be investing into antiquated fossil fuel burning systems which destroy our ecosystem and make big oil bigger.

Either it's green or not in the scene!
April 28, 2016, 10:07 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
If you don't mind my suggestion, I would like to say that these boats could serve a multitude of other helpful purposes such as:
-Delivering people (and baked/non baked goods) from one side to the other side of the river
-Fishing trips
-Sight seeing expeditions
-When it is parked, people can charge their phones on the side of the boat
-Security at sea
These are just a few suggestions that I hope you'll take into consideration before passing judgment on these boats.
John Wasserman
April 28, 2016, 12:12 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
It is meant to power the new prison DeBlasio wants to build in Greenpoint because Rikers is just not hip any more.
April 30, 2016, 12:52 am
Bennett Steven from Williamsburg says:
Just as the city is experiencing a spectacular residential rebirth of the Williamsburg waterfront, here comes a gas-fired electric power-plant in the back yard - quite literally - of at least 5 large residential buildings! Gas-fired electrical plants emit toxic gases, make noise, and present a strikingly unattractive industrial addition to our developing residential Brooklyn waterfront.

Consider these facts:

- At this moment, there are no fewer than SIX NEW residential buildings being constructed within ONE block of the planned location of this power-plant.

- The ONLY waterfront boardwalk in South Williamsburg - filled with children playing on the weekends - is DIRECTLY adjacent to the planned location of this power-plant.

- At least 5 large residential buildings have walls of windows that open DIRECTLY onto the power-plant. They will smell, hear and see the power-plant EVERYDAY.

April 30, 2016, 9:23 am
Joe from Greenpoint says:
Wow, 2 million bucks for a tiny condo overlooking a power plant... NYC rocks!
May 1, 2016, 4:04 pm
john from williamsburg says:
how else will the unemployed, vegan, bearded flannel wearing, pabst blue ribbon drinking hipster power there iphone?
May 2, 2016, 8:20 am

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