Monday, August 10, 2009

Wanna Sign Brad Lander's Petition for a Greener Port?

As noted in a previous post, Brad Lander, who is running for City Council in the 39th District, has spoken out in favor of a "greener" port in Brooklyn - especially considering the recent plans to expand the operations of the Container Port. Today he held a campaign event to promote that recently articulated stance. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to the event on the Columbia Street Waterfront due to my car's insistence it didn't want to work today and it needed me to pay it some more attention - perhaps it was Mondayitis - or the heat.

Anyway, judging from the story in "The Word On Columbia Street" tonight (here), it seems as though many people did turn up in support of this call for action and many positive ideas, both short and long-term measures, were laid out for reducing the impact of the operations of the Brooklyn port on the surrounding residential neighborhoods of Red Hook, Columbia Street Waterfront, Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill. I won't regurgitate the entire content of what was said today - I'll leave it to you to read the excellent and comprehensive coverage in the previously mentioned "Word" story.

However, the main actions for which Mr. Lander is calling are laid out in this statement (from his campaign website) -

It is critical that all parties work together to reduce truck pollution and create a greener port.

We therefore call on EDC, the Port Authority, American Stevedoring, and Phoenix to:

  • Commit to a faster, specific timetable to convert trucks to cleaner natural gas engines.
  • Keep truck traffic inside the port and develop a long-term traffic plan.
  • Enhance the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway by running it along Atlantic Basin.
  • Connect docked ships to on-shore power, to reduce the use of highly-polluting generators.
  • Establish a comprehensive green jobs local hiring program.

With these steps, we can turn the Columbia Waterfront Area, Red Hook, and ultimately the entire Port of New York into the greenest port on the eastern seaboard – making it a healthier place for workers and neighbors alike, and a vibrant and sustainable economic hub.

It's all pretty good stuff, to my way of thinking, and definitely a step in the right direction of finally taking some of the burden of the negative impact of the ports' operations off the shoulders of the already suffering residents and small businesses.

Mr. Lander isn't the only one who has spoken out on these issues. Two other hopefuls for the 39th District seat, Josh Skaller and Gary Reilly, have attended meetings and made statements in relation to the impacts created by the operations of the Brooklyn ports. Mr. Skaller has obvious "green" credentials and is also calling for the Superfunding of the Gowanus Canal. Mr. Reilly is someone who is an environmental lawyer and who has tried to raise awareness of and made statements about the problems of port pollution in the past, including in his blog .

However, Mr. Lander's stance seems to be the most articulate and high profile right now and his recent statements are a thankful addition to the many voices calling for solutions to the challenges faced by our neighborhoods.

He is also urging residents and other interested parties to sign his petition calling for these improvements.

You can read about it and sign the petition too, if you want, here.


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