**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
April 26, 2011
Contact: Aja Worthy-Davis at (212) 788-7081
Council Member Letitia James Commends City Council Restoration of Funds for SWMP Implementation
Important Plan Addresses Borough Equity and Environmental Responsibility In Waste Handling
“Last week, the New York City Council restored important capital funding for the implementation of the 2006 Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP). During recent Preliminary Budget discussions, the administration proposed a budget that all but gutted SWMP by eliminating funding for critical infrastructure, and delaying that funding as far into the future as Fiscal Year 2019.
As the Chairperson of the New York City Council’s Committee on Sanitation and Waste, I believe that SWMP is both timely and integral to achieving the City's vital goal of diminishing the impact of exporting our waste outside of the City, and addressing the injustice of siting solid waste infrastructure in low-income communities.
For over ten years since the premature closure of the Fresh Kills landfill, New York City has operated under an ‘Interim Plan’ for handling waste. This system relies on privately-owned waste transfer stations concentrated in low-income communities that unfairly bear the brunt of waste-handling. In addition, the system depends heavily on long-haul trucks to export waste out of the City. In 2006, SWMP was passed in an effort to serve the critical goals of equity and environmental responsibility for the City of New York. Central to this Plan was a system of marine- and rail-based transfer stations located throughout the City that would eliminate millions of miles of truck traffic each year, as well as advance borough equity.
The Department of Sanitation’s Preliminary Budget would have effectively eliminated funding for four Marine Transfer Stations (MTSs), including all three MTSs to be sited in Manhattan (approximately 40% of the new waste-handling capacity envisioned in the SWMP plan). If this proposed budget had been implemented, this would have cut borough equity out of the SWMP, dramatically reduced its environmental benefits, and betrayed commitments made by the administration to both the City Council and the stakeholders that worked to pass the Plan. In fact, the proposal would have effectively undermined the Plan under the guise of delaying capital funding beyond the current administration. Waste and recyclables that would otherwise go to these facilities would instead be trucked to overburdened communities, and back out of the City.
I have stood by my colleagues in the New York City Council— some of whom represent districts overburdened with waste-handling facilities— to support SWMP and its important goals. In the coming years, City Council oversight will be integral as the administration and the department move forward with the construction of these facilities.”