Statement from Local Elected Officials on Intro 157

In response to the passage of  Int. 0157-2018, a bill that aims to reduce permitted capacity at solid waste transfer stations in overburdened districts, a few people have reached out to me with their concerns that this bill will increase the amount of waste processed at the 91st Street MTS. I reached out to Council Member Ben Kallos's office, and received the following statement, which Council Member Kallos released jointly with Senator Liz Krueger and Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright. You can download a PDF version of the statement HERE.

Joint Statement on New City Law on Solid Waste Management
Council Member Ben Kallos, Senator Liz Krueger, and Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright

“We wish to provide information regarding Introduction 157 (formerly 495), which passed the City Council last month and was signed into law by the Mayor. We support this new law, and we are confident that it will not result in more trash coming to the Upper East Side and will in fact protect us.

Since this legislation was initially introduced in 2014 we have carefully watched its progress out of concern for its impact on the residential community surrounding the 91st Street Marine Transfer Station. As you may know, Council Member Kallos opposed the original version of this bill and spoke out against it at its hearing before the City Council's Sanitation Committee in February of 2015. We are proud to report that after negotiations in the City Council, the provisions that would have negatively impacted the Upper East Side have been removed from the bill, and our community will now receive the same protections as the rest of the city under this law.

The goal of the legislation is admirable. There are neighborhoods in our city that have historically been overburdened with trash. The aim was to impose capacity limits for the waste facilities in those overburdened districts to spare those neighborhoods additional and disproportionate harm. However, as originally written, marine transfer stations were exempt from the proposed capacity limits and protections. This likely would have resulted in even more waste coming to the 91st Street Marine Transfer Station, above the capacity that was approved by the city in 2006. It also would have jeopardized the commitments we won from the Mayor to further limit the 91st Street Marine Transfer Station's operating capacity and the number of trucks that will use the facility on a given day.

Council Member Kallos was also concerned that the legislation included a provision to study the feasibility of attracting commercial waste to marine transfer stations, something too dangerous to allow at 91st Street.

We are pleased that the legislation's sponsors heard Council Member Kallos’ concerns and amended the bill to remove both the exemption and this section of the feasibility study. In acknowledgment of these positive amendments to protect our community, Council Member Kallos signed onto the bill in June, and would have voted for the legislation had he not been on paternity leave when it passed the City Council in July.

This bill was discussed at public hearings in February 2015 and June 2018. At the June 2018 hearing, the City’s Department of Sanitation presented findings from an Environmental Assessment Study that showed this legislation as amended would not result in more trash coming to our neighborhood. This law now provides that no community district, including ours, will see an increase in dumping that would exceed more than 10% of the city’s waste.

Waste stations do not belong in dense residential neighborhoods, but the Upper East Side will get many fewer trucks than we did when previous facilities were under operation. Commissioner Garcia committed to sending an average of 40 to 50 city trucks daily to the 91st Street Marine Transfer Station, a reduction from the more than 100 garbage trucks a day of previous decades.

We continue to oppose the 91st Street Marine Transfer Station and remain committed to mitigating its impact on our residential community.”

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