Transfer Station at the site, not on the environmental impact of operating such asite for many years into the future
Even without such a sufficient environmental review, the Army Corps concludedthat the project would not degrade the quality of the waters around the project.Significant degradation would include adverse effects on fish, life stages of fish,physical and chemical characteristics of the aquatic ecosystem such as thesubstrate, and threatened or endangered species. The Army Corps’determination that there would be no substantial adverse impacts did not takeinto account the unique habitat that exists at the East 91
Street site as a resultof the site’s rocky substrate and irregular bottom topography, which is attractiveto winter flounder. The Army Corps did not acknowledge or consider that thedredging needed for the East 91
Street site, and the dredging proposed at thetwo mitigation sites, would destroy this topography and adversely affect thepopulation of winter flounder and other species that now thrive there.
The Clean Water Act required the Department of Sanitation to create anacceptable plan to avoid or minimize adverse impacts on waters. Kellner andLappin’s lawsuit contends that the plan submitted by the Department ofSanitation and accepted by the Army Corps fails to comply with this importantrequirement in several material respects. Among them are as follows:1. The mitigation plan failed to acknowledge, and failed to providemitigation for, important impacts on fish and fish habitat of construction andoperation of the proposed East 91
Street transfer station;2. The National Marine Fisheries Service’s Habitat Conservation Divisioncriticized the use of the Bush Terminal in Brooklyn as a mitigation sitebecause of its history of contamination. The Department of Sanitation’s onlyresponse to this concern was the assertion that contaminated soils would beisolated by a fabric barrier, the effectiveness of which is unsubstantiated;3. The mere creation of new open water in an amount equal to the amountof open water eliminated by the East 91
Street garbage station will notmitigate the loss of population and loss of unique habitat of fish and wildlife;4. The mitigation plan does not contain or account for any requiredstandards of performance or monitoring.Last month, Superstorm Sandy showed the New York area what the new reality offrequent extreme weather looks like. The proposed East 91
Street Marine Transfer Stationwould be located in flood zone “A” and would face the highest risk of flooding from anyhurricane that makes landfall in New York City. When Superstorm Sandy hit on October 29
,the area around the proposed Marine Transfer Station flooded, doing damage to the AsphaltGreen facilities adjacent to the site with waters reaching as far as First Avenue.In light of these developments, Councilmember Lappin, Assembly Member Kellner andthe other plaintiffs are suing to get an updated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) fromboth New York City and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in order to reassess whether apermit for building a Marine Transfer Station at East 91
Street is appropriate.