District 49
North Staten Island

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District 49 - Michael McMahon
130 Stuyvesant Place, 6thFloor, Staten Island 10301
City Hall: (212) 788-6972
District:(718) 556-7370
Fax: (718) 556-7389

Committee Assignments:
Sanitation & Solid Waste Management, Chair
Finance, member
Land Use, member
State & Federal Legislation, member
Zoning & Franchises, member of Land Use Subcommittee

Let Fresh Kills Remain Killed

By Michael McMahon

Staten Islanders have heard a lot of noise lately about the possible re-opening of Fresh Kills Landfill, but the people on the North Shore are not buying it.

For over half a century, we endured the effects of Fresh Kills, which has the distinction, along with the Great Wall of China, of being one of the few man-made objects visible from outer space. The stigma associated with Fresh Kills tainted the image of Staten Island as a whole, much the same way that it continues to taint our waterways with millions of gallons of leachate each year. Fresh Kills stunted economic growth, filled the air with obnoxious odors, and led to unusually high rates of cancer and asthma among the members of our community.

Staten Islanders wore the dead albatross of Fresh Kills for too long and we should not have to bear it again. Fortunately, every leader on the city and state level - including Governor George Pataki, State Senate Leader Joe Bruno, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller - have roundly repudiated the idea of re-opening Fresh Kills.

Even if there were not a unanimous consensus against plans for re-opening the landfill, doing so would be legally impossible because of state law. In 1996, former State Assemblyman Eric Vitaliano and State Senator John Marchi introduced a bill that later became law prohibiting any landfill from being operated within the borders of New York City. It also placed limits on incineration and provided $75 million in state funding to close Fresh Kills. Violations of this statute could result in penalties of up to $25,000 per day.

Re-opening Fresh Kills is not only illegal, it is also environmentally unsound.

During the 53 years in which Fresh Kills served as the dumping ground for the rest of the city's garbage, it operated in violation of state and federal environmental laws. It is unlined and continues to spill millions of gallons of toxins into our waterways each year. Fresh Kills was allowed to exist because of a federal court decision that ultimately mandated closure and has since expired. The city would have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to retrofit this landfill and this work would take years. We do not have that much time.

What we need is a new approach, one that includes reducing, reusing, and recycling while at the same time formulating an effective and fair export strategy with retrofitted marine transfer stations and rail links to environmentally sound landfills.

The City Council's newly created Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management speaks to the commitment to being an equal partner in developing and implementing a plan that is not only environmentally smart and fiscally prudent, but also equitably implemented throughout the five boroughs. Any long-term plan must be approved by the City Council, which has been and should be a partner in the management of the city's solid waste.

Proposals to re-open Fresh Kills are nothing more than a rehashing of old and tired solutions that never worked. I suggest that we think about garbage in new and innovative ways. This means building a comprehensive citywide waste management plan that operates on the principle that "we are all in this together."

To be sure, the City Council is committed to the basics of such a plan: reducing, reusing, and recycling. But there is a lot of work yet to be done, and we need to work together as a city to be successful.

Posted April 8, 2002

Community Boards for District 49
Community Board No. 1
1 Edgewater Plaza, Rm. 311, Staten Island, NY 10305
(718) 981-6900
Ms. George Caputo, Chair
Mr. Joseph Carroll, District Manager

Community Plans for District 49 (PDF format)
Open Space and Recreation Plan - Eib's Pond Plan (Fox Hills Tenant Association)

Waterfront Revitalization and Access Plan (North Shore Waterfront Greenbelt)

Transportation Plan - The Harbor Loop: Proposed Harbor Loop Ferry System for the Upper New York Bay (Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance)

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
Click thumbnail for larger image of parks in this district

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

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