Joe Lhota is solidly against the 91st Street marine transfer station, announcing that as mayor he will discontinue the City’s efforts at building it. Lhota appeared at a press conference this morning in front of Asphalt Green, the sports and arts facility immediately adjacent to the planned waste transfer station. Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of 100 or so, it was one of the best Lhota campaign appearances that I’ve seen so far.
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. Lhota is certainly knowledgable on the topic, having been involved in the Fresh Kills closing as Giuliani’s deputy mayor for operations.
In answering questions from the press, Lhota addressed some of the operational aspects of the City’s waste transfer plan, asserting that eliminating the 91st Street station and instead continuing to truck the affected trash to New Jersey would be less expensive and a better outcome. When asked why this was so important to him, Lhota gave several reasons, concluding by noting that he “expect[s] to live in a building right over here”, pointing toward Gracie Mansion. When questioned why as a Republican he would engage in “environmental activism”, he responded with a sense of outrage, saying that it is not just a Democratic issue and noting that a Republican president created the EPA (that would be Richard Nixon, but without noting, well, you can guess at all that he didn’t note).
Here is Lhota’s on-topic press Q&A from this morning.
The 91st Street marine transfer station was a topic of discussion during the primaries, with candidates split on what they would do about it. For some background, here is a discussion from a Bronx mayoral forum in June. It’s an issue that inflames many outside of Manhattan, who see it as efforts by a wealthy, well-connected neighbor to avoid the same burdens that they face.