Colton’s coalition doesn’t want your garbage

Assemblymember Bill Colton organized a “coalition rally” against the proposed Bensonhurst waste transfer station at the Bay Parkway promenade on Sunday, August 5.

Colton has been vocally opposed to the transfer station, which the city would like to operate at Shore Parkway and Bay 41Street, at the site of the former Southwest Brooklyn incinerator. He filed a lawsuit against the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in June to block the plan, which was developed by the city’s Department of Sanitation some years back.

“This dangerous garbage plan places the health and future of Bensonhurst’s families at stake and that’s why I’ll fight to the end to stop it,” said Colton, who is no stranger to the site. Previously, he led a successful lawsuit to shut down the incinerator, which he claimed endangered the health of area residents.

“People near the former incinerator have suffered enough at the hands of the city’s reckless waste management. Residents near the former incinerator have reported increased cases of cancer, asthma, and other serious chronic ailments,” he said. “They woke up each morning to find ash from incineration on their windows. As we are still reeling from the aftermath of 30 years of illegal incineration, we cannot allow another dangerous plan to move forward and wreak further havoc on Southwest Brooklyn’s residents and environment.”

At the rally, Bensonhurst residents and environmentalists held signs that said, “It’s Gravesend, not Gravestink,” “Test Gravesend Bay now!” “No garbage in my neighborhood” and “Don’t dump on me!”

Organizations such as the Block Institute, the Natural Resources Protective Association, Wake Up and Smell the Garbage and the No Spray Coalition, as well as State Senate candidate Andrew Gounardes and State Assembly candidate Mark Murphy, were on hand to show their support for the cause.

One of the major concerns, Colton added, is that the city must dredge the bottom of Gravesend Bay repeatedly in order to make the water deep enough for barges to enter and leave, possibly stirring up toxins that were discovered during a recent study of the bay’s surface that he funded.

“Scientists have confirmed what many in the community feared. There were unsafe levels of mercury and other harmful toxins found at the bottom of Gravesend Bay. The samples were taken by just scratching the surface rather than by digging deep below the surface where the dredging will reach. This leads others and me to wonder: What other dangers lie further below Gravesend Bay?” Colton said. “And how will this toxic material impact the adjacent beaches of Coney Island and Manhattan Beach?

Keith Mellis, Deputy Chief of the Department of Sanitation, told this paper, DSNY is moving forward with plans to construct this state of the art containerized marine transfer station that will allow for waste from south Brooklyn to be shipped by barge to rail centers where it will be moved to landfills out of state, he said. In doing so, fewer trucks will be moving that waste on roadways which will cut down on traffic, road wear and pollution.

Mellis added that the marine transfer station was part of the mayor’s solid Waste Management Plan which was overwhelmingly approved by the City Council and the state DEC.

We are moving forward to bring this modern facility online, he added.

Colton also said that repeated dredging may hit one of the pieces of ammunition that is underneath the bay, left behind by the USS Bennington after World War II.

“The city is intent on fast-tracking their waste project as quickly as possible, while ignoring the glaring warning signs along the way,” said Colton.

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