Friday, April 22, 2016

Shore Power Update & Please follow "A View From The Hook" on Twitter @ViewFromTheHook

Hi folks,

As you can see, this blog has been dormant for a while. I'm not shutting it down. You never know when important information might need to be shared in detail - using more than 140 characters! But for now, there won't be many updates here.

Which leads me to remind you, much of the information I have been sharing and news on matters that have been covered in this blog since 2009, I also share via Twitter. Many of the articles and writings I "tweet" pertain to the important issues impacting our New York City neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn, and beyond - shipping & port pollution, resilience, transportation, waterfront issues, development, climate.

So, if you're interested, please follow @viewfromthehook


I guess I should also update you on one of the issues that really kicked off this blog - the cruise ships that idle at the edge of our waterfront neighborhood, spewing dirty diesel emissions into our air and into our kids lungs while they're in port. Well, they're still idling!

Despite the "shore power" infrastructure we all fought long and hard for being ready, according to the NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), and the ships that visit the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal also ready, retrofitted and able to accept the electricity so they can turn off their dirty diesel engines while in port, the latest information is that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) has not fully tested and certified the shore power equipment so that the ships can finally plug in.

In September, 2015, we were told that this "testing" was going to take place asap. We had previously been told that the shore power infrastructure would be ready for the 2015 cruise season. And now it's April, the 2016 cruise season is upon us, and we're still waiting.

This is just unacceptable.

It was the PANYNJ that presented information to the Public Service Commission in January, 2010, stating that plugging in cruise ships to shore power at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, allowing the ships to turn off their engines while in port, would save Brooklyn residents a monetized amount approaching $9 Million per year in health costs. $9M per year!

We have been waiting a decade - since 2006 when the terminal was built - for the Port Authority to do the right thing at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. It's been 10 years of kids in Red Hook and beyond breathing in Particulate Matter (2.5), which has been linked to more and more harmful health effects, especially to children. Asthma, heart disease, cancer, autism, premature birth, and the list goes on. There have also been recent studies showing that when ships use low sulphur diesel (even though this "clean" diesel is still 1000s of times dirtier than the type trucks can legally use), the burning of that diesel actually creates more of this harmful Particulate Matter. So "clean diesel" is no solution at all. It's also been 10 years of the ships at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal spewing climate change inducing CO2, NOx, SOx, Black Carbon, etc., and burning hundreds of gallons of fossil-fuel diesel per hour - continuously while in port!

I don't know why the Port Authority has such a cavalier attitude towards portside communities and their quality of life, especially neighborhoods like Red Hook which has high rates of asthma and many environmentally impacted residents. Is the health of our kids not important enough for those in charge at the Port Authority to get this shore power infrastructure up and running - asap? The fact is, over the last decade the Port Authority has not been in a rush to implement green port practices. Even when the Brooklyn shore power system does get up and running, it will be the first such berth in the whole of the Ports of New York and New Jersey. Every single other ship in this great port city will be idling in port, burning dirty diesel, warming the planet and spewing all these harmful toxins into the air and into portside communities. While the largest ports in the U.S. on the West Coast have moved aggressively forward with shore power (for cruise and container ships), clean trucks programs, and other green port practices, here on the East Coast - at the Ports of NY and NJ, the third largest port complex in the country - we've been stuck in neutral, still idling.

The Port Authority really needs to start doing the right thing - by our kids and by the planet.

How about starting with getting the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal shore power up and running - like yesterday?

NOTE: If you are interested in issues pertaining to clean ports, shipping and transportation, please do follow Moving Forward Network. They have been doing great work on these matters and have an ongoing campaign to reduce the dependence on diesel in our transportation and goods movement sector. It's called #ZeroEmissionsNow

Follow Moving Forward Network on Twitter: @The_MFN

- AA

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