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Constantinides’-sponsored bill seeking ‘environmental justice’ passes city council

Constantinides drawing attention to the Ravenswood power plant in December

April 7, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

The city council passed two bills sponsored by Astoria Councilman Costa Constantinides Wednesday that aim to identify and address the issue that low-income areas are often located next to industrial plants emitting toxic pollutants.

The legislation calls for the study of the pollution levels in low-income neighborhoods—as well as communities of color–and the environmental issues the residents of these areas face.

The bills are expected to be signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio in coming weeks, Constantinides said.

It also calls for the creation of a task force to come up with solutions to issues of pollution and to make sure that all communities have equal access to environmental protection.

“For far too long, environmental justice communities have had more sources of pollution and fewer environmental amenities in their neighborhoods, leading to adverse health effects. This legislation will work to make our city services more equally and fairly distributed,” said Constantinides, who chairs the Environmental Protection Committee.

The study will focus on issues such as sources of pollution, adverse health impacts of the pollution, the environmental impacts of city policies on communities, barriers to participation in environmental decision-making faced by the communities, rate of current and potential future utilization of renewable energy, and policy recommendations to address environmental concerns.

The data would then be compiled in to an online map showing the environmental data for each community.

The specific action taken by the task force once the issues are identified would vary by community, Constantinides said, but pointed out that western Queens specifically faces issues with several power plants in the area, a wastewater treatment plant, LaGuardia airport pollution, and more.

In addition to mitigating problems in the area, the taskforce would work to bring renewable energy solutions and environmental justice benefits to the area as well, Constantinides said.

The new law would also provide residents with the facts about pollution in their respective neighborhood and would help them address local environmental issues and weigh in on addressing the problems.

“As the recent executive order on climate shows, the Trump administration will choose fossil fuels over our public health and safety,” Constantinides said. “It’s up to cities to make combating climate change and reducing pollution a top priority. By voting on this legislative package, we show that New York is leading the way.”

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16 Comments

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nancy

Astoria and Long Island City have one of the highest childhood asthma rates in New York City!

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gian

i read there is an idea/proposal to close rikers island and add more terminal landings for planes from LaGuardia Airport. if they do that I guess there will be even more noise and pollution on Ditmars.

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Sick of pollution!

Recently discovered(?) is a link between air pollution and breast cancer. Like we didn’t figure out that air pollution negatively affect humans! Noise from any source, cars, planes also have a negative affect on humans. Finally a politician who realizes he is a public servant who owes his job to those who voted him in ( and can vote him out) and who also pays his salary. Thank you Mr. Constantinides! You have earned my respect. Continue to act for your constituents and they will support you. Don’t follow JVB’s example. Saw him in another “photo op”. You have no idea how many times I have contacted his office regarding air and noise pollution regarding car alarms, from planes, etc. and was told I was annoying his staff!

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Jenlastoria

What about noise pollution? The day and night back-up alarms of vehicles at Mt. Sinai are unbearable. This is a health issue that has affected many residents adjacent to that ramp that was suddenly built last summer without any notice to us at all. Unfortunately many of us in the 30th Av area near the hospital are looking forward to another sleepless summer because (despite promises by Mt. Sinai) there has been no change by the hospital.

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dan34

You are so right! I do not know why more people do not get more involved in these matters and speak up. I guess that is what happens when homeowners live else where and just rent out there places to others. Hardly anyone cares! The noise in Astoria is constant and growing. Honking, car engines waiting for lights (including loud music) on most streets, helicopters and planes, loud gatherings at places of worship, late night noise from people visiting all the bars and restaurants! Once my lease is over i am moving back to LIC, it is so much cleaner and quieter and when i want to party Ill come to Astoria.

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Anonymous

Uhm actually the EPA should not be a legislative autonomous body as the president shouldn’t unilaterally act on his own without congress like he’s a king. Rescinding executive orders does not mean that you don’t care about the environment. Constantinidis proved that by handling it on a local level.

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Someone sick of the pollution!

Look at the planes taking off and landing at La Guardia. They are over our homes and schools, 30 seconds apart for up to twenty hours a day. The toxic fumes can be seen streaming in the air we and our children are forced to breath. The noise is bad but the fumes cause many illnesses. Contact Queens Quiet Skies on line and see what pollution causes! New York is “leading the way”? I don’t think so. Hope these bills are passed or Poor Astorians will soon be forced to wear masks. Thank you Mr. Constantinides! Finally a city councilman, who does not march around protesting, but actually works for the benefit of his neighborhood! Thank you again!

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franny

Thank you! I am tired of the fumes from the sewer and electric plants on Ditmars. Anyone in the neighborhood will tell you that these fumes are not good for anyone. My best friend moved out of Astoria for this reason after researching this matter and living here for less that a year.

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Jenlastoria

That is really not good. I am also concerned about that sewage that is dumped into the river next to the power plant up there by DeMarco Park. It travels down river and stinks up Astoria Park and everyone living and breathing inbetween.

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Jf

Ditmars ? Are u serious right now ? Do u think ditmars is a low income neighborhood ? Troubled with pollution?
This legislation is for areas like queens bridge houses next to con ed plant And east Elmhurst next to lga

I kno living off /around ditmars is tough, Those big brick homes and some green grass and yards ….. so polluted

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tito

Yes there is a Con Ed Plant right off Ditmars on 20 Ave. It begins I would say around 30th Street and ends around 19th Street. It is huge and extends for blocks. Parts are visible even from Ditmars and Steinway. There are barbed wire, gates, glowing towers (smokestacks) and humming noises on 20th. I used to live a block away and hated it. Ditmars has plenty of low income residents. Visit a local supermarket during the day and you will so many people using EBT from the neighborhood. Also plenty of elderly on low fixed incomes, people from the shelter and people living here with NYC rental subsidies.

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asthma.alley

According to the Department of Health, Astoria and Long Island City are more polluted than the rest of the borough and the city. In these neighborhoods, the levels of PM2.5, the most harmful air pollutant, are 8.9 micrograms per cubic meter, compared with 8.4 in Queens and 8.6 citywide.

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