Three Projects Transforming Staten Island’s West Shore

A portion of the Saw Mill Creek Pilot Wetland Mitigation Bank. Thousands of new plantings are protected by fencing and other deterrents to keep away birds and deer. Photo by Nathan Kensinger/CurbedWhile it’s unlikely that many New Yorkers will ever see it up close, Staten Island’s western shore is undergoing a transformation that will impact more than 800 acres of waterfront property.

According to Nathan Kensinger at Curbed:

“Along the northern edge of Bloomfield, near the Staten Island Expressway, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing the Goethals Bridge Replacement Wetland Mitigation Project, which is restoring 26 acres of wetlands around Old Place Creek. Further south, next to the West Shore Expressway, the NYC Parks Department and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) are working together to rehabilitate 68 acres of the Saw Mill Creek wetlands.

And in between these two restoration projects, a 3.5 million-square-foot warehouse complex is now being constructed. Located in a 676-acre property that once housed an oil storage facility, the Matrix Global Logistics Park has already signed up several tenants, including Amazon and Ikea, who will operate out of four massive warehouses. When completed, the Matrix complex will encompass 200 acres, all built on top of what was once a wetlands ecosystem.”

The Saw Mill Creek restoration project is particularly interesting because it is part of the Saw Mill Creek Pilot Wetland Mitigation Bank, which allows developers to buy credits in order to offset the environmental mitigation they are required to complete at other construction projects in the area.

This is the first mitigation bank in New York, and if it proves to be successful, this model could be used in other places around the city.

Source: Curbed

End of Ethanol Ban May Bring More Smog to New York Summers

President Trump is expected to end certain restrictions on selling gasoline containing a higher percentage of ethanol. Photo by United Soybean Board/Creative Commons.

The Trump administration has ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to end its ban on the summertime sale of E15, a blend of gasoline and corn ethanol.

Up to now, such sales have been barred because E15, which is 15 percent ethanol, contributes to more smog during hotter summer months.

The change is opposed by an unusual political alliance of environmentalists, who oppose the environmental damage, and the fossil fuel industry, which does not want to see more gasoline displaced with corn ethanol.

Ethanol combustion releases elevated levels of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, both of which form smog in the air when exposed to sunlight and high temperatures.

Source: Times Union

Danish Wind Company Buys Leading U.S. Offshore Wind Developer

Deepwater Wind is developing projects in Connecticut, Maryland and New York and is still planning to construct a second wind farm off of Rhode Island big enough to supply up to 25 percent of the state’s energy needs. Photo by Ionna22/Creative Commons

Danish renewable energy company Ørsted has announced a $510 million deal to buy Deepwater Wind, which built the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. off the coast of Rhode Island. Deepwater Wind is also developing New York’s first offshore wind project for the Long Island Power Authority and built the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. off the coast of Rhode Island.

If approved by regulators, the deal will create a U.S. subsidiary called Ørsted North America that has a combined 8.8 gigawatts of projects in development up and down the East Coast.

By paying more than $500 million for a relatively small company with just one wind farm, Ørsted appears to be confirming that the United States is considered the next big source of growth for this industry.

Source: The New York Times


City Alters Design for East River Park Plan

The city wants to lift up East River Park by several feet to prevent the FDR Drive and homes behind it from flooding.
The city wants to lift up East River Park by several feet to prevent the FDR Drive and homes behind it from flooding. Photo via New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

The city has announced major changes to the design for part of the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR), a proposal that aims to protect against catastrophic flooding by building a “resilient park” along the East River from Montgomery Street on the Lower East Side to East 25th Street.

The new design will reportedly reduce construction time, while also delivering flood protections nearly a year earlier than projected.

Construction is aiming to get started in March 2019 and the park is slated to be complete by 2023. The new design is projected to cost around $1.45 billion.

Source: Curbed

Harlem Community Garden Seriously Damaged by Herbicides

Volunteers at Jenny’s Garden in Harlem say weed-killer sprayed by Amtrak representatives has ruined their fall harvest. Photo via Kindred Spirit Group’s instagram.

A beloved community garden in Harlem has been seriously damaged by pesticides.

Volunteers at the Riverside Valley Community Garden — located on West 138th Street and Riverside Drive near the Amtrak tracks — told AM New York that their seasonal harvest was ruined when Amtrak workers sprayed weed-killer near the garden.

Amtrak representatives confirmed that weed killer was indeed sprayed on Sept. 15, and that Amtrak had hired an outside company to do the deed.

Garden volunteers have filed a damage report with Amtrak. Jason Abrams, a spokesman for Amtrak, said in an email that Amtrak  ‘is currently investigating this claim.”

Source: AM NewYork

NY Admits Defeat as Emerald Ash Borer Continues to Spread

The emerald ash borer is a shiny green beetle about the size of a penny. The borer likely will ultimately bring about the end of the state’s 700 million ash trees. Photo via Be a Smart Ash

The Department of Environmental Conservation has repealed logging restrictions put into place to contain the spread of the emerald ash borer, admitting that the quarantine had failed. The invasive insect has now spread so far into the state that officials believe most of New York’s ash trees will be gone within the next decade.

The state is now recommending that forest landowners move forward with harvesting the remaining healthy ash trees now, as “infested ash degrades quickly, resulting in decreased economic value and greater risk of personal injury and property damage.”

Source: Times Union

City Council Pushes Green Roof Requirements

Councilmember Rafael Espinal introduces new legislation that would require green roofs for nearly all new construction in the city. Photo credit: BK Reader

Three City Council members have introduced a package of legislation to require nearly all newly constructed buildings to have energy-efficient roofing systems.

Members Rafael Espinal, Donovan Richards, and Steve Levin say the new laws would reduce the city’s carbon footprint and pollution levels by expanding the number of green roofs across the city.

New buildings would be required to cover all available rooftop spaces with a green roof, solar panels, small wind turbines, or a combination of all three, pushing New York City to join the global effort to cool down cities and reduce their carbon footprint.

Source: BK Reader

A Slippery Question: Can You Recycle Receipt Paper in NYC?

Receipt paper can be recycled with other paper goods — but should it be? Photo by Green Mom

This new, semi-regular Q&A column comes to NYER courtesy of the Park Slope Parents Green Group and was written by PSP member Ella Ryan. PSP is a community of 5,500+ families living across Brooklyn, New York. For more information and how to join, visit

Can you recycle those slippery paper receipts you now get from virtually every retailer? The short answer is YES! NYC accepts any paper for recycling – the rule of thumb is if you can rip it, recycle it in the green-labeled paper bin.

However, you may have heard sinister things about these seemingly innocent slips of paper. So here’s the longer answer.

Continue reading “A Slippery Question: Can You Recycle Receipt Paper in NYC?”

Want to Buy a New, Energy-Efficient Car? Your Utility Company Can Help With That.

Con Ed and National Grid have launched comparison tools to assist customers in purchasing electric vehicles. Photo by Noya Fields/Creative Commons

Looking to buy a new car? Curious about how an electric vehicle stacks up to its gasoline-guzzling forebearer, especially over the course of a lifetime?

Consolidated Edison and National Grid are here to help. The New York utility companies have both recently unveiled online marketplaces that help consumers compare and purchase electric vehicles.

The sites allows shoppers to make side-by-side comparisons of cars in a way that shows costs over the course of a lifecycle. The marketplaces provide the manufacturer’s suggested price, the value of rebates and tax breaks for electric vehicles, and estimated fuel costs.

The results can be surprising! As Greentech Media showed, in a comparison of a Lincoln Navigator and a Tesla Model X, the Tesla ends up being cheaper to own after factoring fuel costs, rebates and federal tax credits.

Intrigued? Do your own research with Con Ed or National Grid.

Source: Greentech Media

Waste Equity Bill Triumphs in New York City Council

The waste equity bill waste equity bill will cap the level of municipal garbage handled by certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Photo by Charley Lhasa/Creative Commons

On Wednesday, City Council voted 32-12 to reduce how much commercial waste can be handled by transfer stations in the South Bronx, southeastern Queens, and northern Brooklyn.

The bill, which has been in progress for several years, is sponsored primarily by Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Stephen Levin.

“The passage of Intro 157 is a momentous achievement in the fight for environmental justice and the reform of our City’s private waste management system,” said Reynoso. “Currently, low-income communities of color handle a staggeringly disproportionate amount of our City’s waste.  Residents are exposed to dangerous truck traffic, elevated air pollution, and hazardous environmental impacts— contributing to historical inequities in resource distribution along economic and racial lines.”

The bill now heads to de Blasio’s desk, and if signed, will go into effect by the fall of next year.

Source: Greenpoint Post