Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino came to Manhattan’s Upper East Side Tuesday to protest the waste transfer station being built behind Asphalt Green, a popular sports and arts facility. The waste transfer station has been a neighborhood flashpoint for the past few years, sparking litigation, protests and an ongoing effort to stop it. Today Astorino called for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to not renew state-issued permits necessary for the project to continue.
The transfer station is part of the City’s Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, a large, complex plan which is more than a decade in the making. The SWMP grew out of the Giuliani-era closing of the Fresh Kills landfill, previously the destination for the City’s garbage, as the City has tried to develop a long term plan for waste transfer.
The 91st Street marine transfer station was a topic of discussion during the 2013 mayoral race, with candidates split on what they would do about it. For some background, here is a discussion from a Bronx mayoral forum in June and an appearance at Asphalt Green by Joe Lhota during the general election. It’s an issue that inflames many outside of Manhattan, who see it as an effort by a wealthy, well-connected neighborhood to avoid the same burdens that they face.
Here’s the full Q&A portion of Astorino’s press conference. On topic questions included whether canceling the project would result in Manhattan not bearing it’s “fair share” of the burdens of waste removal, whether the plan is “too far in motion” to realistically cancel or pull back, his reaction to learning that Mario Cuomo opposes the project and what effects a major storm might have on the site. Other topics included whether he plans to read Andrew Cuomo’s book, released today, his view of Cuomo’s national media tour, Cuomo’s reported use of campaign funds to buy holiday gifts for state troopers protecting him and what Astorino plans for the three weeks until election day.