Environmental News Updates
Updated: Oct 2, 2018
Update from Damon Maher: Army Corps has scheduled two public scoping meetings for the New York-New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study*
As you may know, the Army Corps of Engineers is considering six different plans for coastal storm protection, many of which call for construction of massive, in-water barriers (giant sea-gates) in New York Harbor that would choke off the Long Island Sound and the Hudson River from where it meets the ocean. These barriers would restrict tidal flow, block the migration of fish and trap sediment, sewage, and contaminants, while also failing to address increased flooding and other exacerbating impacts of sea level rise. After the intercession of County Executive George Latimer and appeals from the public, environmental, and grassroots organizations, the Army Corps has scheduled two public scoping meetings for the New York-New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study at the Westchester County Center in White Plains onWednesday, October 3, 3-5 p.m. or 6-8 p.m. So far, the Corps’ outreach for this project and related meetings have been limited. Before the public comment period ends on November 5, we must show the Corps that communities take the human and environmental impacts of this project seriously and that they must prioritize public engagement. We don’t want them to think that a lack of turnout for this meeting indicates a lack of interest; we all know otherwise. Will you join us at either of these two meetings on October 3? New York-New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Focus Area Feasibility Study Scoping Meeting WHEN: Wednesday, October 3, 2018, at 3 PM – 5 PM OR 6 PM-8 PM WHERE: Westchester County Center, 98 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606 Additional information on the NY-NJ Harbor and Tributaries Focus Area Feasibility Study is available at http://www.nan.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Projects-in-New-York/New-York-New-Jersey-Harbor-Tributaries-Focus-Area-Feasibility-Study/ Please consider attending and inviting your neighbors, as well – this is a critical time to speak out before the comment period closes on November 5 to prevent a short-sighted decision.
*The above update was copied from an email from County Legislator, Damon Maher.
Hudson River Action
We are writing to alert you to a menace to the Hudson River that needs your immediate attention—CITIZEN ACTION IS CRUCIAL RIGHT NOW! The public comment period has been extended to September 20, 2018.
This link from Riverkeeper will take you to a page with guidelines for submitting a public comment.
At least since Hurricane Sandy in 2012, local, state and federal agencies have been developing plans to mitigate the effects of the more frequent and violent storm systems to which we are subjected because of a warming climate and rising seas - this is a critical effort.
This summer the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) made public, for the first time, its “Coastal Storm Risk Management” Study (CSRM) for New York Harbor and the Hudson Valley - two of their six alternatives would spell absolute disaster for the Hudson River. And they originally provided just 30 days for public comment!
YOUR VOICE CONTINUES TO BE NEEDED! We need to flood the Army Corps with our outcry before it's too late!
PLEASE TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION AND SUBMIT A COMMENT!!
• Submit email comments to: NYNJHarbor.TribStudy@usace.army.mil
• Write a letter or call:
Nancy J. Brighton, Chief
Watershed Section, Environmental Analysis Branch, Planning Division
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
26 Federal Plaza, Room 2151
New York, NY 10279-0090
The following is a letter from George Latimer to the US Army Corps of Engineers.
For background and extensive information, see: https://www.riverkeeper.org/blogs/ecology/storm-surge-barriers-for-ny-harbor-threaten-life-of-the-hudson-river/
POINTS YOU CAN MAKE:
Alternative #5 – the Perimeter-Only, shoreline-based proposal is the only proposal (to date) that protects the Hudson River as it protects people and infrastructure.
The public needs more information than the meager amount provided so far, to comment, as is our legal right. For instance, the Corps has not provided environmental-impact information.
We need time to get informed and comment. A 30-day comment period is totally inadequate. (In contrast, the US Coast Guard gave a six-month period for comments on the Hudson River anchorages proposal.)
The risk of storm surge cannot be addressed without also addressing sea level rise due to climate change. Whatever we build now must serve to protect us from both.
Please forward this info to friends/family, put it up on social media, contact members of the press, anyone who can help spread the word.
Brought to us by the NYCD16 Indivisible Environment Committee
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County Recycling Updates
from correspondence with the Westchester Department of Environmental Facilities
Thank you for your email concerning the County’s solid waste and recycling programs.
You are correct to point out the importance of addressing food waste if we are going to continue to see the County’s recycling and sustainability programs grow. Westchester performs near the top of the state in all environmental management program measures, but we’ll need to manage food waste to ensure that we remain a leader. To that end, the County will soon begin a comprehensive food waste study with the goal of creating a food waste management plan. The study will analyze the County’s waste stream to determine the amount of recoverable food waste for food rescue programs and for recycling. The study will examine the feasibility of utilizing excess capacity in anaerobic digester located at the County’s Water Resource Recovery Facilities to process food waste, as well as constructing a dedicated food waste anaerobic digester within the County. The study will also examine the feasibility of incorporating traditional and in-vessel composting into the County’s long-range food waste plan. The goal is for the County to implement the recommendations of the study.
As for eliminating plastic bags, the County’s Board of Legislators has introduced and is currently considering a bill that would regulate the use of checkout bags by persons and entities engaged in retail sales. They Board has recently held Committee hearings on this proposed local law.
Finally, to answer your question about what we are doing to improve our recycling programs, you should know that we are continually working to expand the County’s recycling programs and improve their efficiency. Recently, we expanded our commingled recycling to include not only plastics #1-7 but also to accept aseptic and gable-top cartons (milk, juice, soup and non-dairy beverage containers). Our boat wrap recycling program collects over 50 tons of plastic wrap used to protect boats in the off-season every year. We’ll also soon be announcing that the County will be accepting textiles for recycling at the Household-Material Recovery Facility (H-MRF) in Valhalla. These efforts have contributed to the County’s remarkable reduction in waste generation. Westchester County reduced the amount of residential garbage it disposed of in 2017 by almost 6,000 tons compared to 2016, and since 2005, Westchester County has reduced the amount of residential garbage by a 30 percent.
Thank you again for your email. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
Louis J. Vetrone
Deputy Commissioner Westchester County Department of Environmental Facilities
From our County Legislator:
Attached is a draft of our proposed plastic bag legislation that seems to have hit a snag, like a plastic bag caught in a tree, in the County's Law Dept.
We should have you come, with allies, to a Citizens to be Heard segment on one of the alternate Monday evenings that the full Board is in session to persuade all of our colleagues to move the bill out of committee for a full hearing and vote. In fact, this coming Monday would be good; would require each person to work up a well-prepared 3-minute speech, and a commitment to show up at about 6pm outside the Court Street entrance of 148 Martine Ave to be sure to claim, on a first-come basis, one or more of the 10 speaking spots available each session.
We are fortunate in Westchester County that we have dual-stream recycling, which means that our residents sort plastics from the paper and other (commingled) recyclables, which makes them easier to process at the centralized County facility and reduces cross-contamination, which is important in keeping them attractive to the Chinese market; and this is becoming more important as the burgeoning Chinese economy churns out more and more of its own disposable waste.
A County facility is also the central depository for yard waste, but composting of other solids is really a local issue for now. More change could follow more pressure, and I know the active Scarsdale people have been talking to Mayor Bramson. See also: http://environment.westchestergov.com/residents/food-waste