New York City legislation – Intro 157 – will prevent significant increases in waste-handling in already overburdened districts. The bill would allow for some growth for recycling or composting and for waste transferred by rail (instead of long-haul trucks), it incentivizes improved, more environmentally friendly operations at these facilities.

The legislation limits the amount of trash that can be sent to overburdened neighborhoods that are home to a majority of privately-owned, environmentally troublesome waste transfer stations in the nation’s largest city. Today, 26 of these privately-owned waste transfer stations (out of 38 citywide) are located in just three neighborhoods – north Brooklyn, the South Bronx and southeast Queens.

These facilities are trash freight stations, where waste coming in from all around the city is transferred, mostly onto long-haul trucks, for shipment to out-of-city landfills and incinerators, as well as recycling and composting facilities. The waste stations are significant localized sources of truck traffic and air and noise pollution, which daily disrupt the quality of life for tens of thousands of nearby residents. Specifically, the new legislation would cut the permitted capacity of waste transfer stations by 50 per cent for north Brooklyn and 33 per cent in both the South Bronx and southeast Queens.

The passage of Intro 157 is the beginning of what NRDC hopes will be a broad overhaul of the entire commercial waste handling operation in New York.  Councilmembers Antonio Reynoso and Stephen Levin took the lead in advancing this legislation, with critical support from Council Speaker Corey Johnson. New York City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia also supported the legislation, and Mayor Bill De Blasio is expected to sign the bill.

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