Jan 8, 2001
Press Release

NEW YORK: Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (Queens, Manhattan) released the following statement tonight in conjunction with a rally to oppose the construction of two new power plants in Long Island City.

"The siting of these new power plants is an absolute insult to the families and residents of Long Island City.

The City and State have spent millions of dollars to develop our waterfront, helping to spur unprecedented economic growth in this community, and these plants could stop that development dead in its tracks. Vernon Boulevard is the wrong place for these power stations. While there is no question that the city needs more capacity, it is unfair to put these plants in a community that is already overburdened with power plants. This community already supports three power plants, and there are plans to erect four new ones.

"We cannot survive this concentration of power plants. Our community is already called Asthma Alley. Most experts point to the concentration of power plants, along with the airports and the highways, as the reason so many residents suffer from respiratory problems. Our children's health is at risk because of all the pollution already in our area. It is simply unfair to ask this community to absorb two more power plants.

"Why are they putting up two plants? Because if all that capacity was combined into one plant, they would have to go through a formal Article X siting procedure. By breaking the capacity into two plants, they evade the precautions that are built into the law. That's unfair to this community. Those precautions are built in to prevent a community from having to absorb the impact of a new power plant without a proper hearing.

"A proper hearing would show that these plants are inappropriate for this community. The New York Power Authority agrees that Vernon Boulevard is the last place these power stations should go. That's what they told my office. They say they would rather put them at Kennedy Airport. They say they have identified other sites that would be better than Vernon Boulevard. So why are we being told Vernon Boulevard is the only place that works? The Power Authority says that in order to achieve its self-imposed deadline of June 1, it needs a location that is no more than half a mile from certain connections. Kennedy Airport is five miles away from the electrical connection - and it would take more time to create the connection to hook up.

"I think our health is worth the time. If this is the last place the Power Authority would choose - then why are we rushing to put these plants in a place that is bad for our health, bad for business and bad for our neighborhood? I encourage the Power Authority to work with us to come up with a better location. This is the wrong place and the wrong time. Let's sit down with the Power Authority and work to put these power plants in a place that will not be everyone's last choice."

NOTE: Maloney was unable to attend the event due to flight delays caused by inclement weather.