Office of Borough President James P. Molinaro
Staten Island, New York
B.P. Molinaro to Parks Department: “Staten Island wants control over future of Fresh Kills!”
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Borough President James P. Molinaro last night submitted his official comments to the City Parks Department on its Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) for Fresh Kills Park, denouncing it as a flawed document that ignores the needs and wants of Staten Islanders.
Last May, the Parks Department issued the Notice of Completion for the Fresh Kills Park DGEIS that identifies any potential adverse environmental effects of proposed actions, assesses their significance, and proposes measures to eliminate or mitigate significant impacts.
Molinaro’s written comments expand on the testimony he gave at a public hearing on the DGEIS on September 4th, which strongly condemned the document for failing Staten Island on many levels, particularly on recreational facilities, park roads, and wind turbines.
The Borough President noted that the DGEIS fails to provide for an appropriate amount of active recreation areas in the 2,200 acre-park, something that Staten Islanders have been demanding for years. “The DGEIS fails to strike a balance between the City’s programmed vision for the park and the facilities, features and activities requested by Staten Islanders through many public meetings,” Molinaro wrote in his official comments. “Instead of listening to our needs, the EIS gives us one multi-use field, a total of 4.68 acres of much-needed active open space for the people of Staten Island, to be completed in the year 2036.”
Molinaro says the DGEIS fails to consider his wind farm proposal for Fresh Kills, which would put New York City in the forefront of “green” energy production championed by Mayor Bloomberg. The document makes baseless assumptions about the negative effects of a wind farm, suggesting that they might produce shadows, might distract motorists and cause accidents, and might harm bats, birds and insects. “The DGEIS does not explain why the 14-month-long Fresh Kills wind farm meteorological study performed and reported by BQ Energy for NYSERDA and my office is not referenced,” Molinaro wrote. “The report concludes that a 7-turbine, 17.5-megawatt wind farm is very feasible, that the turbines can be located on the top of the mounds to take advantage of where most of the wind is available, and that in New York City, Fresh Kills is the only location for realizing a wind farm physically and economically.”
The Borough President’s greatest concern with the DGEIS is that it fails to fairly evaluate the use of the existing landfill roads. Traffic congestion is the number-one issue facing Staten Island. But the document cites concerns about the impact the roads might have on existing plant communities and wildlife. The document makes no mention of the enormous positive impact that opening the roads would have on the environment, safety, and quality of life of Staten Islanders. Instead of using Molinaro’s plan to open the existing roads within the next 3-4 years, the DGEIS proposes building new roads which would not be completely opened until the year 2036.“It appears that the DGEIS is more concerned with long-term adverse impacts to plant life and wildlife than the long-term impacts to Staten Islanders from traffic jams and the accompanying air pollution because the roads through the landfill are not utilized,” Molinaro wrote.
Molinaro concluded his testimony by saying, “All these years, no one gave a damn about the people of Staten Island; the elites in Manhattan didn’t care. This time, we want control over what goes into our park.”
The three-volume DGEIS is available for download from the Parks Department’s website, nyc.gov/parks. Hard copies are also available at all Staten Island libraries and community boards.
The September 15th deadline for comments submission has been extended by the Parks Department to the end of the month. Borough President Molinaro will be submitting additional comments during this period. Comments made at the public hearing and written comments submitted to the Parks Department will be responded to and made public in the final Environmental Impact Statement that is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
September 16, 2008