Jan. 30, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Council Member Costa Constantinides’ package of bills–known as the Renewable Rikers Act–went before the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee yesterday.
The Renewable Rikers Act, comprised of three separate bills introduced in June, would begin the process of creating renewable energy infrastructure and a wastewater treatment facility on Rikers Island.
One of the three bills would transfer control of the island to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from the Department of Correction and require two feasibility studies on the island.
Another would require the DEP to assess whether a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility could be built on the land and if it could replace older facilities in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color in Western Queens and the South Bronx.
A third would require the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability to study the amount of renewable energy that can be generated on the Island and how much of that energy can be stored through large-scale batteries on the Island.
In October, the City Council voted to close the jail complex on the island by 2026 and build four borough-based jails.
While, the Council has begun a land use review process to ensure the island never houses another jail, what will happen to the land has yet to be determined.
At the hearing Wednesday, Constantinides, who is chair of the Environmental Protection Committee, said that Renewable Rikers Act could help historically marginalized black and brown communities where wastewater treatment facilities and power plants pollute their neighborhoods.
“I was moved to hear stories from South Bronx, western Queens, and Brooklyn residents who’ve lived in the shadow of power plants and wastewater treatment plants for too long, while being pushed to the margins even further by our criminal justice system,” Constantinides said in a statement. “They made it clear this is perhaps the best path moving forward to get real restorative justice.”
The mayor will soon sign an executive order to gather stakeholders and begin a public input process to determine what will become of Rikers Island — including the possibility of renaming the land, Daniel Zarrilli, the mayor’s chief climate police advisor, said at the hearing.
Zarrilli, who testified before the committee, said the mayor’s office is “very much in support” of two bills that call for feasibility studies, but said that the control of the island should be transferred to the appropriate city agency, only after the public input process is completed and a decision of the island’s use is made.
“These bills could represent the dawn of a new era for millions of New Yorkers and also a blueprint on how a green and sustainable city could operate in the twenty-first century,” Constantinides said at the hearing.
We in northwestern Queens already get eau de Chanel No.2, especially in warmer weather. Costa just wants to bring it closer to home.
Rikers jail should stay open for violent criminals and not placed in residential areas. I agree with justice reform for non violent offenses(jaywalking, mail fraud, etc.) not the crazy ones we have now and keep Rikers open. Puppet Costa is running for borough president and others like Crowley who wanted Rikers closed a while ago. Astoria voted for pro criminal and new no bail laws DA Melinda Katz, instead of a former cop and an actual defense attorney Joe Murray. All this activists who nave no real jobs are funded by Soros and Koch brothers. If you do some research they are behind the new no bail laws. Soros funded Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner campaign gave $1.7 mil and now Philly is one of the worst city’s. NYC is not far behind. Soros is know for making big $$$$ during CHAOS and this is what he is creating. There are no checks and balances, city council pandering to criminals and giving illegals more rights and free services instead of law abiding New Yorkers.
Where were these councils when low income residents needed 25,000 jobs so they could leave public housing if they wanted to. There is something wrong with our society’s representatives when they are willing to spend hundreds of millions or billions on no bid contractors, faulty subway cars, poorly administered social services and luxury hotel housing for the homeless, no bail for bias crimes and spending tax money spent on legal fees to defend criminal aliens. Now, who’s to know if this Rikers Island plan or if newly built prisons will be free of graft, bribes and no bid contracts. Throw in our hard earned Tax money being spent on corrupt politicians and their Wasteful agendas and air-plane travel and you have a serious recipe for economic disaster. This is no longer a democracy when the citizens of New York don’t have a say as to how Federal, State and City taxes are being spent. Public schools don’t cater to individual needs and competition from the private school sector is thwarted at every turn. Democracy should be about freedom to choose how our taxes are being spent. But many of our New York politicians are only interested in self-gain and fear that if our citizens learned about how they trample on our Constitutional rights, they wouldn’t go along with their wasteful agendas. And P.S. letting the bad guys know that the good guys can no longer have guns is not a solution to gun-violence in this country, especially when you allow every criminal on the face of the Earth to gain entry into this Country.