NYPA Must Explain Plans To Assembly Panel, Gianaris Says
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) received some unexpected help last week from Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, but NYPA officials will be on the griddle on Mar. 15th "to answer the tough questions it has been avoiding," Assemblymember Mike Gianaris announced.
Gianaris (D–Astoria), one of the leading opponents of NYPA plans to build two 44-megawatt power plants in Long Island City, said that NYPA officials must appear on that date before the Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee, of which he is a member and which will be examining NYPA plans to place 11 power generators in various locations throughout the city.
The plan includes the two generators on the East River waterfront near Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City.
Gianaris said, "A number of disturbing questions continue to exist regarding NYPA’s proposals. These hearings will finally force NYPA to answer the tough questions it has been avoiding to date."
Gianaris said NYPA’s plans have generated significant community opposition, particularly in western Queens, where a number of power generators are already located.
"The oversaturation of power plants in the area is believed to contribute to severe health problems, including a very high asthma rate among children and other residents," Gianaris stated.
Prior to being elected to the Assembly as 36th Assembly District representative last November, Gianaris served as counsel to Citizens Helping to Organize a Kleaner Environment (C.H.O.K.E.), a leading opponent of NYPA’s plans.
The Mar. 15th hearing will be held at 250 Broadway in Manhattan at 10:30 a.m. A subsequent hearing will be held in Queens at a date and place to be announced, Gianaris said.
Meanwhile, a decision is still pending on a suit brought by Silvercup Studios to derail NYPA plans to build the two generators at the East River–Vernon Boulevard site.
Queens Supreme Court Justice Joseph Golia has issued a preliminary injunction to stop NYPA from going ahead with its plans, but the ruling has not interrupted work. As part of Golia’s decision, Silvercup and other organizations which joined in the suit, had to put up a $5 million bond to cover any losses NYPA would entail in stopping the project.
Silvercup refused to put up the bond so NYPA has continued its construction job.
Golia is still considering arguments by both sides before he issues a final decision on Silvercup’s suit. That decision is due on Monday when Golia returns from a brief vacation.
Last week, lawyers from both sides met in Golia’s chambers to try to work out a settlement. While this meeting was going on, the mayor, represented by Deputy Mayor Robert Harding, submitted a request to Golia that rather than a $5 million bond, Silvercup and other NYPA opponents be required to put up a $25 million bond before any order to stop work goes into effect.
The mayor has supported NYPA plans from the start because he agrees with NYPA that the generators are needed by June 1st to meet anticipated high energy demands this summer.
If the judge were to accept the mayor’s proposal and include it in any decision, Silvercup would not put up such a large sum and the original stop-work injunction would be in effect nullified.