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As Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tenure draws to a close, a coalition of environmental organizations is urging him to take action now to make the city more sustainable.

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“Now is the time to lock in forward-thinking sustainability policies and prioritize the most critical projects for completion,” the New York League of Conservation Voters and other organizations say in Bloomberg-Countdown.pdf.

The goal of the 2013 New York City Sustainability Countdown is “to help focus the city’s efforts for the remained of 2013.”

The groups argue the city could take immediate steps in several key areas, including preparing for the impacts of climate change; addressing ongoing air quality issues; reducing and de-contaminating the waste stream; making buildings more energy efficient; and increasing mass transit options.

They note that their goals “are practical and achievable, and with the support of Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council, can be made realities by the year’s end.”

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NEW YORK — Over 100 environmental groups from New York, New Jersey and other states are seeking to extend the public comment period for a proposed deepwater liquefied natural gas port off the New York coast.

The port will increase the supply of natural gas in the New York City-metro area.

The port “could pose a major security threat to a densely populated area, risks burdening the region’s ecosystems with air and water pollution, and will tend to discourage investment in renewable energy supplies,” the groups said in a letter sent to federal authorities today.

In their letter to the Maritime Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard, the coalition, led by Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy and Clean Ocean Action, charged that the time allotted — 30 days — for public comment on the project’s scoping documents was insufficient.

“It is manifestly unfair to expect either the general public or concerned individuals with scientific and technical expertise to submit thoughtful and comprehensive scoping comments on an application of over fifteen hundred pages by July 24,” the groups stated.

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One of the most pressing questions about the end of Michael Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor is what will become of his groundbreaking efforts to make New York a more environmentally sustainable city.

In a forum organized last night by the New York League of Conservation Voters, nine mayoral hopefuls provided strands of information that — if nothing else — pointed at the depth and complexity of the challenges ahead.

Several candidates made the point that Bloomberg’s achievements were only the first steps in a lengthy process. Said Republican Joe Lhota: “Bloomberg set us on the path to sustainability. We need to take it to the next level.”

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Construction on what has been described as New York City’s longest-running and most expensive construction project — a tunnel to expand the capacity of the water supply system — reached a new milestone yesterday. And it was ahead of schedule.

Work on Manhattan sections of the tunnel have been taking place seven days-a-week — on multiple shifts.

The project is one arm of the extensive network of tunnels, aqueducts and reservoirs that comprise the city's remarkable water supply system.

Approximately 2,750 feet of new trunk water mains have been installed on the Upper East Side, along with upgrades to existing mains. The work was executed by the city’s departments of Environmental Protection and Design and Construction, who report that the $38 million construction project was completed five months early.

According to the DEP, trunk water mains range in size from 30 to 48 inches and “serve as a conduit between the large water tunnel shafts and the smaller water mains that make up the local distribution networks."

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Work has officially begun on the natural gas pipeline project that will run underneath Jamaica Bay.

National Grid spokeswoman Karen Young says the utility started preparatory work for construction of two gas pipelines underneath Jamaica Bay’s Rockaway Inlet. The pipelines will be 1.6 miles in length and 50 feet below the seabed. Work began last Friday.

Young said that she was not sure exactly when drilling would commence under the Rockaway Inlet.

In a later phase of construction on its “Brooklyn/Queens Interconnect project”, National Grid will connect these cross-Bay lines to customers in Brooklyn and Queens via a new gas meter and regulating station to be housed within a historic hangar at Floyd Bennett Field. Gas entering the meter station will eventually link to an existing gas main on Flatbush Avenue.

National Grid’s new delivery capacity will be supported by an off-shore feeder pipeline to be constructed by Oklahoma-based Williams Cos. The company manages the 10,000-mile Transco natural gas pipeline, which runs parallel to the Rockaway coast.

Much of the construction on the pipeline will take place in Gateway National Recreation Area, a 26,000-acre National Park, which includes ocean-facing Jacob Riis Park and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

The National Grid portion of the Rockaway pipeline project was reviewed under the New York City Environmental Quality Review Act. In December 2011 the city issued a negative declaration, meaning that the city found the project “would not have an adverse impact on the environment.” Because of this, the project did not require a public review process or full-scale environmental review.

Williams’ off-shore pipeline and meter station proposal, however, is still working its way through a federal environmental review process.

The company said in a statement: "The project also has all other required city, state, and federal approvals.” The utility expects that this first phase of construction will be completed in May.

National Grid noted the environmental benefits of converting homes and businesses from oil to natural gas. “Each conversion is equivalent to taking 15 cars off the road for a year,” the company said. Local environmental groups have questioned whether the pipeline project will impact marine life off the Rockaway coast and whether it is an appropriate use for a national park.