GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT 2002: District 22 JUMP TO YOUR DISTRICT
 
 

District 22
Astoria



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District 22 - Peter Vallone, Jr.
22-45 31st Street, Queens 11105
City Hall: (212) 788-6963
District: (718)274-4500
Fax: (718)726-0357
Email: vallonejr@council.nyc.ny.us

Committee Assignments:
Public Safety, Chair
Environmental Protection, member
Governmental Operations, member
Oversight and Investigations, member
Standards & Ethics, member


NO MORE POWER PLANTS!

By Peter Vallone, Jr.

The recent fire at the 14th Street station and the power outage that followed has many New Yorkers concerned about whether the city has enough energy. In reality, that fire had more to do with maintenance at the substation than with the need for more electricity.

Last week, Maureen Helmer of the New York Public Service commissioned testified at a City Council hearing that the city must build more power plants to keep up with the city's needs. However, I have seen statistics that show that New York City has enough power. Every time a power authority says we need more and argues that we have to build more plants, groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council finds sources of energy that have been conveniently left out of their predictions.

The processes for selecting sites for new power plants often excludes the neighborhoods where they will be located. The locations of power plants are decided by a siting board made up of seven people: five state agency heads and two people appointed by Governor Pataki. The board holds public hearings, but it does not alert the public to them. It ignores what the public has to say and puts the power plant wherever it wants.

The New York Power Authority and the New York Independent System Operator, which manages the electric industry in the state, did not show up at the City Council hearing on legislation that would require all city agencies to become more energy efficient by the year 2006. That is par for the course. The New York Power Authority does not care to listen to communities like Astoria. It is making Queens the ashtray for the entire state.

Power plants in Astoria, Queens supply about 60 percent of the city's energy. There are currently five more power plants proposed for the area -- two have already been approved -- all located within a three-mile piece of land in my district.

One community can not, and should not, have to bear the burden for the whole city.

The city's power plants have historically been put in western Queens because it is inexpensive. There is a power grid underground that the energy has to go through, and the closer a power plant is to the grid, the cheaper it is to transmit power. Unfortunately, that has been the bottom line in deciding where to build new plants. Few at the city or state level recognize the fact that this community is already overburdened. Power plants produce electricity that is needed to run the city. But the pollution they emit also kills. I will not tolerate another 50 to 100 years of children in Astoria getting asthma because it is inexpensive for a company.

When we build new plants, they have to be dispersed throughout New York. And we have to ensure that when we build these cleaner and more efficient plants, that the old ones are eliminated. Too often a new plant is built with the understanding that the old polluting one will be closed. Time and again, the companies claim there is an "emergency" energy need and the old plants remain open.

Before becoming a City Council member, I worked as a lawyer for the environmental group, C.H.O.K.E., which stands for Coalition Helping Organize a Kleaner Environment http://www.chokequeens.com. We sued the New York Power Authority and won. The courts ruled that mini-turbines had been put in the area without the proper environmental review. But all this did was slow them down. Construction on the plant was allowed to continue.

In the City Council, I have worked as a member of the environmental committee to try to work for better energy policy in the city.

Just a few weeks after taking office, I introduced a bill that would require New York City's power plants to greatly reduce carbon dioxide emissions or face stiff fines. The law would be the first of its kind among any local municipality to regulate CO2 emissions.

I also support the council's legislation that would ensure that the city use energy efficient products, would require new city-owned and leased property to meet higher standards, and would update the building code so that constructing new, more efficient buildings is more affordable for developers.

If we can make our new power plants cleaner and reduce our need through conservation, then we can reduce the suffering of areas of the city like Astoria, which have shouldered more than their fair share for too long. Posted July 29, 2002

Peter F. Vallone Jr. is City Council Member-Elect from District 22.


Community Boards for District 22
Community Board No. 1
36-01 35th Ave., Astoria, NY 11106
(718) 786- 3335
Mr. Vinicio Donato, Chair
Mr. George Delis, District Manager
Community Board No. 3
82-11 37th Ave., Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 458-2707
Ms. Theresa Obradovich, Chair
Ms. Giovanna Reid, District Manager



Ethnic Makeup and Political Registration


Ethnic Makeup

Political Registration



Public Schools

Elementary Schools


Middle Schools


High Schools



To find out what school district you live in, call the Board of Education at 718-935-2000 or link to Public School Reports



Police Precincts

Although many precincts cover areas solely within one City Council district, there are many which overlap with other districts. In most cases the overlap of precincts among districts is no more than a few blocks. Wherever there is overlap, we have made sure to alert you.


City Parks
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Learn more about the condition of the city parks in your district at the New Yorkers for Parks (PDF file).



Community Gardens



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Find out more about community gardens from
the Council on the Environment of New York City


Historic Districts and Landmarks
Learn more about the historic districts and landmarks in this area.


The Waterfront

A
map listing suggestions for use and improvement of the waterfront in this district from the Metropolitan Waterfront
Alliance. (pdf format only)