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Politics

Asthma Alley No More Say Maloney, NYCHA Residents’ Association Leadership

NEW YORK – Congresswoman Carolyn B Maloney (NY-12) on January 31 stood across the street from Ravenswood Generating Station with NYCHA Residents’ Association Leadership and environmental justice advocates to unveil her Justice in Power Plant Permitting Act.

Ravenswood Generating Station is the most polluting power plant in New York and home to “Big Allis,” the station’s largest fossil fuel smokestack.

The legislation advances the equitable transition to a clean energy economy by preventing the permitting of major sources of pollution that cause harm to communities, like fossil fuel-fired power plants such as Ravenswood Generating Station. The legislation would also stop the permitting of other fossil fuel-fired sources within one mile of a major source if the combined effects of the area’s air polluters would cause harm to the health and well-being of local communities. To replace dirty and harmful energy generation, the bill includes a Just Energy Transition Fund for clean energy projects that support workers and environmental justice.  Finally, the bill ensures the federal government is a partner in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and hazardous air pollutants by requiring 100% renewable, air pollution-free energy use by 2030.

“We are in a climate emergency. To combat it, we must recognize that two generations of residents right here in Asthma Alley have been subjected to unending toxic pollution. Right across the street from Ravenswood Generating Station is Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing development in North America. The air pollution coming from Ravenswood has inflicted asthma, heart disease, and cancer on this community! This is a crisis of environmental justice, and it must be stopped,” said Rep. Maloney. “That’s why this week I am introducing the Justice in Power Plant Permitting Act. This legislation will bar major sources of air pollution, like Big Allis or peakers, as well as other fossil fuel-fired sources within one mile of a major source, from being permitted when they harm the health and well-being of our communities. These units are killing my constituents, and far too often these plants are placed in communities of color. And we can’t stand by and let this continue.”

“I’m proud to support Rep. Maloney’s Justice in Power Plant Permitting Act, in the fight against climate change and the fight for our local communities. The federal government has a responsibility to protect its citizens from the devastating effects fossil fuel emissions have on the health of impacted communities. Ensuring that hazardous power plants transition to those supporting clean energy initiatives has a twofold effect on improving the lives of citizens as well as the livelihood of the Earth. A healthy planet goes hand in hand with a healthy population. Together we can get this bill passed, and move towards a better future,” said Assembly Member Harvey Epstein.

“Given the threat climate change poses to our city and our planet, now is not the time to build more fossil fuel-fired power plants. Congresswoman Maloney’s Justice in Power Plant Permitting Act would prevent construction of even more harmful power plants in neighborhoods like mine. I commend Congresswoman Maloney for her leadership as we fight the plan to build the combined heat-power (CHP) plants in Stuyvesant Town,” said Councilmember Keith Powers.

“For too long Western Queens has bore the cost of providing the city’s power where our most vulnerable residents have paid for it with their health. The Justice in Power Plant Permitting Act is crucial in helping to stop any additional fossil fuel plants from being sited in overburdened communities. Thank you to our Congressmember Carolyn Maloney for standing against big fossil fuel companies polluting our neighborhood and for the renewable future here in Western Queens that can become Renewable Row,” said Costa Constantinides, CEO, Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens.

“I’ve seen the environmental changes. I was there when the power houses were built within 7 miles of Astoria Houses. I was there when pollution and sewage was put into the East River, and I’ve seen these things change because of the all of the actions of people here. In Astoria Houses, in that area of Queens near the Tri-Borough Bridge, we have children that have asthma and sleep with machines. All of this is because of the air that they breathe, and we are fighting for cleaner air, and we are asking for your support to continue to help us clean up the air in Northwestern Queens. Our children have to take away at least 20 days a year from school out of their classes. It is wrong. It is all wrong,” said Claudia Coger, former President, Astoria Houses Tenants’ Association.

The full text of the bill is available online: https://bit.ly/3gcNFGr.

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