Colton files appeal in Bensonhurst trash plant case

November 3, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Assemblymember William Colton (left) and Councilmember Mark Treyger led a protest rally against the city’s plan to build a trash plant on the Bensonhurst waterfront. Colton, who lost a round in court, said he has filed an appeal. Photo courtesy Colton’s office
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Assemblymember William Colton said he’s not going to give up his fight against the city’s plan to build a trash processing plant on the Bensonhurst waterfront, despite the fact that the project appears to be all systems go.

Having lost his battle in court, Colton said he filed an appeal on Oct. 22 in the hope of overturning Hon. Bert Bunyan’s decision in which the New York State Supreme Court justice ruled that the city could go ahead and construct the facility.

Colton (D-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) had originally filed a suit in New York State Supreme Court in 2012 against the New York City Department of Sanitation (DOS) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) over the Southwest Brooklyn Waste Transfer Station, a trash processing plant to be constructed on the waterfront of the Gravesend Bay at Shore Parkway and Bay 41st Street. The plant has been in the planning stages since it was first announced as part of the city’s Solid Waste Management Plan in 2005.

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“This dangerous garbage dump will cause serious harm to the public health, environment and safety of the people of our neighborhoods in southwest Brooklyn. The city cannot go forward with this dangerous and toxic plan, and I am going to continue fighting on behalf of southern Brooklyn until this plan is stopped,” Colton said when he and Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) led a protest rally against the trash plant on June 1.

The DEC was named in Colton’s lawsuit because the trash plant required state approval.

However, in a 2013 decision, Bunyan dismissed Colton’s contention that the plant would severely hinder the quality of life, public health, environment, and safety of the residents of Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay, and Coney Island. Colton had argued that the plant would significantly increase air pollution and bring too many trucks to the area. reported that Bunyan ruled that the city would take extra precautions to protect the neighborhood. He also noted that a garbage incinerator that stood for 30 years in the same location where the trash plant is to be built did not cause a significant uptick in dangerous traffic conditions, according to the report.

But Bunyan also ruled that there was a troubling lack of transparency in the way the DEC made its decision on the trash plant’s approval. He ordered that the permit allowing the plans to move forward be modified to incorporate steps taken by the DEC and the DOS to better inform the public.

In the wake of Colton’s appeal filing, the DEC and the DOS will have 30 days to file an answering brief. Colton said he plans to file a reply to their answer. The court will then schedule oral arguments. 

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