STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE CAROLYN B. MALONEY AT A PUBLIC FORUM ON THE CON EDISON REPOWERING PROJECT FEBRUARY 2, 2000
"Good Evening, tonight we begin the process of examining Con Edison's plans for their two east side power plants. The development that will result from Con Edison's plans will not only forever change the skyline but also the quality of life along the entire east side of Manhattan. We should not move in haste and this cannot be a closed process. So far, we have lots of questions and few answers.
"Many community groups have complained about a lack of information and cooperation from Con Edison. It is very important for Con Edison to make a real effort to work with and listen to the community. I am not satisfied that Con Edison has done an adequate job of soliciting community input.
"Tonight's meeting while useful has a number of problems:
---Most of us had very little notice of this meeting.
---A number of people had prior obligations, in particular the members of the Land Use Committee of Community Board 6, who hold their regularly scheduled meeting on the first Wednesday of the month.
---The location of tonight's meeting is not convenient to residents who live close to either facility.
"In the end, there must be an opportunity for the community to be heard and for a full and careful consideration of the important issues raised by this proposal.
"With regard to the substance of this matter, we need a lot more information. We need a firm plan on the table and sufficient information about its environmental impact, before we can comment fully. With regard to what we do know, I strongly disagree with the applicant (Con Edison) that this project should be considered in isolation from the uptown sale. It is my understanding that the two Con Edison plants do not currently meet Federal pollution control standards. We need an environmental impact statement to determine the current and future harm caused by these facilities. In particular, we need to know about the impact of this expansion on residents of Stuyvesant Town and the communities south of 14th Street. Since, current operations at the plant exceed permissible pollution control levels, any additional impact on these communities is unacceptable.
"In passing, I note that in discussions with my constituents who reside near the l4th Street, I have heard numerous repeated complaints regarding the stench of leaking gas. I have contacted Con. Edison regarding this problem. Certainly, this odor problem must be rectified regardless of whether this upgrade is approved.
"These two projects are inextricably linked. Even the notice for this forum indicates that this meeting is necessary because of the sale of the uptown facility. Accordingly, any environmental evaluation must discuss the impact of development at the uptown site on the community, the infrastructure, waterfront and residents.
"Since Con Edison plans to install an extensive series of pipes to link the 14th Street facility with the existing infrastructure there will be an impact on community residents. We need to know where these pipes will be installed, how long this process will last, and what impact there will be on traffic and residents. Once we have answers to these basic questions, we will be in a better position to evaluate Con Ed's plan.
"In conclusion, I urge Con Edison to meet current Federal air quality guidelines. Federal guidelines impose strict pollution limits, but provide that older power plants do not need to meet these new more protective standards. The theory is that it would be unfair to impose new requirements on an established company, with a resulting increase in consumer rates.
"However, since the sale of the uptown facility will generate tremendous revenues for Con Edison, it is appropriate for Con Edison to go the extra step to bring the 14th Street facility up to (and perhaps in excess of) federal EPA standards. My constituents, especially those living close to the 14th Street facility have suffered with the adverse consequences of your facility for too long. Give them a break."