Going Coastal

In Brooklyn, Go Coastal on May 28, 2009 at 2:36 pm

A decision is being made at the Port Authority tomorrow in regard to the future of the Atlantic Basin and Pier 11 on the Red Hook Waterfront.

What is being proposd and decided upon tomorrow is essentially the expansion of the operations of the Red Hook Container Terminal, a stated goal of representatives of the NYC Economic Development Corporation.

This expansion is being proposed without any environmental impact study, nor promise to implement any pollution mitigating practices at the port. For example, “Cold Ironing”, the hooking up of container ships to shore power when in port, allowing them to turn off their carcinogenic fume emitting engines.

This practice of Cold Ironing has been promised at the Cruise Ship terminal, with investments already committed by Carnival, who operate the cruise ships, and the Port authority, who control the land and terminal itself.

The only obstacle is getting a power rate which makes this practice viable for the ships. On this matter, a case was put to the Public Service Commission (PSC) to decide on whether they should mandate a tariff (rate of supplying power) to Con Edison, to make this happen. The PSC decided that this case was not able to be resolved by them, as the Port authority got its power from the New York Power Authority, and the decision on rates should be theirs.

So – a little back and forth, but possibly this will be resolved with the NYPA soon.

This is the very important bit – In the information I have about this decision, however, there was a paragraph or two inserted from the EPA, as support for the case requesting the shore power rate.

In it, the EPA stated the harmful effects of the port emissions from ships.

(See attachment)

It noted that –

“a. Shore power is a crucial step for cleaning our air and improving health of New Yorkers.”

“b. Ocean going vessels that dock in New York City typically burn high sulfur fuel in diesel engines to generate auxiliary power.
This combustion results in exhaust containing NOx, SOx and particulates and such exhaust is a likely carcinogen.
A Port Authority study shows that use of shore power at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal would annually eliminate 100 tons of NOx, 100 tons of SOx and 6 tons of particulates”

“c. New York City air quality is among the worst in the nation and port related emissions are meaningful and avoidable.”

“d. Such air emissions are harmful to the pubic generally, and especially to our children, the elderly, people with lung disease, those who exercises outside, and low-income and minority communities located near ports.”

“e. Implementation of a shore power tariff  is consistent with economic development in New York City.”

“g. None of the Company’s tariff’s accurately account for the unique service characteristics of ships that dock in New York City.”

“h. A high-rate setting working group charged with delivering a shore power recommendation should be convened quickly”
How can the expansion of the Container Terminal go ahead with these extremely important concerns, brought up by the EPA itself, left unaddressed and without any commitment to implement shore power, as has been done with the Cruise Terminal? How can a decision be made without even the hint of concern for the welfare of our population – especially our children – with the burden being shouldered by them for the next 20 years and beyond?

Please contact the Port Authority and encourage them not to make a hasty decision on this matter. All these considerations need to be given the light and time required to resolve them fairly and openly.

This is the Port Authority’s general inquiries number –                  212-435-7000           and Chris Ward, the Port Authority Executive Officer’s number is                  212-435-7271         

For additional background information on these matters please visit my blog – aviewfromthehook.blogspot.com


Adam Armstrong


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