Good Morning, Brooklyn: Tuesday, January 25, 2022
OPPOSING FRACKED GAS VAPORIZERS: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is soon expected to make a permit decision on National Grid’s proposal to build two new fracked gas vaporizers at its Greenpoint LNG storage depot at the head of the North Brooklyn Pipeline. Fighting the proposal, U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velázquez, together with community members local residents and members of the No North Brooklyn Pipeline Coalition and elected officials representing both sides of Newtown Creek, will hold a press conference in Maspeth this Thursday, Jan. 27, to urge the DEC and Governor Kathy Hochul deny the permit for the fracked gas vaporizers.
Local community members have opposed National Grid’s project, saying it violates the state’s climate and environmental justice law, specifically that the new vaporizers would increase air pollution in an environmental justice community and increase greenhouse gas emissions during the climate crisis. The DEC had also recently denied permits for two new fracked gas power plants in Astoria and Newburgh, New York, saying the projects did not comply with the CLCPA.
IPS NEWS: EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS FOR FAMILIES— A webinar on how families can coordinate their emergency preparedness will be offered today, January 25, at 11 a.m., thanks to Assemblymember Stefani Zinerman (D-56th District), Zinerman, who serves Bedford-Stuyvesant and North Crown Heights, will be in conversation with Dr. Lisa Scott-McKensie, Chief of Staff and Associate Director for Emergency Preparedness at NYC Health and Hospitals at Woodhull.
The webinar (register via https://bit.ly/Prepare56) will focus on staying informed, creating a communications strategies and knowing which supplies should always be stocked at home
DATA BREACH SUIT SETTLED: A $600,000 agreement has been reached with EyeMed, resolving a 2020 data breach that compromised the personal information of approximately 2.1 million U.S. consumers, including 98,632 in New York state. New York Attorney General Letitia James announced yesterday. EyeMed — which provides vision benefits to members of vision plans offered by both licensed underwriters and employers — experienced a data breach in which attackers gained access to an EyeMed email account with sensitive customer information, including health and vision insurance ID numbers, medical diagnoses and conditions and treatments.
As part of the agreement, EyeMed is required to enact a series of measures to protect consumers’ personal information from cyberattacks in the future.
IPS NEWS: TRACING ILLEGAL GUNS: The first meeting of the new Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns, including a partnership with Mayor Eric Adams and the NYPD, will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 26, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced yesterday. The Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns will bring together law enforcement officials from nine northeastern states to tackle the urgent issue of illegal guns. The agenda will include setting up the information-sharing consortium and crime analysis centers, as well as ways to share intelligence, tracing tools, strategies and tactics across jurisdictions while partnering with prosecutors and law enforcement agencies in each region.
Preliminary statistics from NYPD show a total of 4,473 illegal guns were traced from out-of-state sources, with most coming from southern states like Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.
IPS NEWS: RECOMMENDATIONS ON FIGHTING GUN VIOLENCE: Related to gun transport, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams has released a series of city, state, and federal recommendations to combat the rise in gun violence. Among the recommendations: Increased investment in the Mayor’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention, and better integrating that office’s work with other mayoral agencies.
Another recommendation is linking the Crisis Management System with the Department of Education and other agencies so that alternative programming can be provided through collaborative partners.
DEFENDERS’ STATEMENT ON ADAMS’ GUN VIOLENCE POLICY: The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services and their counterpart organizations in Queens, the Bronx and Harlem released the following statement in response to Mayor Eric Adams’ remarks on gun violence. The defenders support the support an expansion of the Summer Youth Employment program, the Fair Futures Initiative and employment opportunities for young people. by expanding New York City’s Crisis Management System, mental health intervention services, and job development and housing support for young people, people in the foster system and those currently suffering homelessness.
“However, we do not support Mayor Adams’ focus on discredited punitive and surveillance-based strategies, including his call for additional rollbacks to bail and discovery reform, amendments to Raise the Age, increased use of facial recognition and reinstatement of the NYPD’s historically racist Anti-Crime Unit,” declares the letter.
IPS: REQUEST FOR DOCUMENTS IN EXCESSIVE FORCE INVESTIGATION: As part of an investigation into the deadly use of force by U.S. border control agents, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, chair of the Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), requesting documents and information related to Critical Incident Teams—specialized units within CBP that are tasked with investigating and collecting evidence of allegations. The committees “are concerned by reports indicating that Critical Incident Teams may have obstructed appropriate investigations by law enforcement,” wrote the Congressional chairs.
The letters continue, “Our committees are seeking to more fully understand the role of Critical Incident Teams following potential misconduct by Border Patrol agents, whether these teams have obstructed criminal, civil, or administrative investigations or prevented accountability for agents’ misconduct, and the steps CBP is taking to ensure these teams are being used appropriately.”
ART INSTALLATION AT INDUSTRY CITY: The Collision Project—Industry City’s campus-wide arts initiative, will unveil a large-scale installation by artist Jen Lewin titled “The Pool,” an interactive environment of giant, concentric circles created from more than 100 circular pads, inviting visitors to walk, dance, jump, and play with the piece. The installation, which opens to the public on January 28, was created to allow visitors to enter a world where play and collaborative movement create swirling effects of light and color.
Using mesh-network technology and custom code, visitors can activate platforms that respond to touch—encouraging participation in an ever-changing composition. Lewin was inspired by Australian tidal pools and developed technology and code to bring this experience to Industry City.
CONTINUING ABSENTEE BALLOT ALLOWANCE: Legislation to allow voting by absentee ballot due to the COVID-19 pandemic through 2022 became law on Monday with Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature. This legislation, which was first effective in July of 2020, reactivates the law which expired on Dec. 31, allowing New Yorkers to request an absentee ballot during the pandemic where there is a risk of contracting or spreading disease that may cause illness to the voter or other members of the public.
Governor Hochul proposed in her 2022 State of the State a number of proposal to strengthen voting rights protections in New York State, including a state-level voting rights act to protect against voter suppression, improving language access for voters, lowering the voter registration deadline from 25 days to 10 days before Election Day, and requiring polling locations on college campuses.
GROUNDBREAKING IN CONEY ISLAND: BFC Partners Monday announced the closing and groundbreaking for the second phase of their project at 1607 Surf Ave. in Coney Island. The 361,361-square-foot development will include the construction of a new 10-story mixed-use building containing a total of 376, 100% affordable rental units, roughly 9,000 square feet of community and facility space and over 11,000 square feet of commercial space.
The project also dedicates 2,500 square feet dedicated to the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation (HHC) to establish a small primary care facility on location.
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